Barnaby Joyce must have known his scandal had begun to go stale, when he chose to ramp up the absurdity. Yesterday it was reported that the former Deputy Prime Minister had accepted a whopping $150,000 payment from Channel Seven for his and Vikki Campion’s story.
The same story which dominated headlines for weeks and was tweezed apart by every media outlet in the country. The same story which reached peak snore-fest months ago. Joyce seems to have missed the memo that no one’s interested in the couple’s affair, we’re furious about the hypocrisy and blatant disregard for tax-payer dollars, that went with it.
Early in the year Joyce’s relationship with ex-staffer Campion was broken by the Daily Telegraph, which likewise reported Campion was expecting her first baby. The story made everyone feel a bit icky but we were prepared to relegate it to the gossip mags so long as the Deputy PM’s conduct was above board.
Campion had been media adviser to Joyce during the 2016 election campaign where they developed a close friendship. By the end of the year however, Campion had been transferred from Joyce’s office inexplicably. By April the following year she’d landed a cushy post as adviser to Matt Canavan (a close friend of Joyce).
The position in Canavan’s office was described by various media outlets as a “plum job” and awarded to Campion at the time to, in part, protect the interests of Joyce. For a man second in line to run the country, his priorities were way, way off.
But the hypocrisy ran deeper than this.
At the same time Joyce was criticising young workers for being unrealistic and whinging about housing affordability, it emerged that he and Campion were living rent-free in a millionaire businessman’s apartment in Armidale. Said businessman, also happened to be a vocal Nationals supporter and a beneficiary of Joyce’s contentious decision to relocate the Australian Pests and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
So there he was, shacked up with his new partner, fuelling fire with media interviews and statements aplenty– hoiking curve ball after curve ball at the Government, who flailed wildly trying to present a united front. It was, in all seriousness, a joke.
By allegedly accepting money from Channel Seven, Joyce’s hypocrisy reaches new extremes. His arrogance is truly staggering. For months, “his story” has stymied national leadership. It caused chaos for his party and colleagues, and dominated public discourse preventing real news from resonating. “His story” is not worthy of compensation.
This is especially true when we look at stagnant wage growth and a shortage of good jobs for competent workers– the majority of whom are women. These Australians don’t expect to see $150,000 as a yearly salary in a lifetime, let alone a lump sum pay-out for airing their dirty laundry.
Barnaby Joyce should be perched up on that Backbench with his tail between his legs and his voice no more audible than a whisper. At the very least, he should be changing nappies not selling stories. If he had any respect for the Australian electorate, that would be the case.