Life was so much sim­pler when he just wanted to boot out a cou­ple of Hol­ly­wood dogs

Even without the help of movie stars, the Barn­aby saga shows no sign of los­ing steam

The Weekend Australian - - COMMENTARY -

Malcolm Turn­bull’s press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day: Jour­nal­ist: Prime Min­is­ter, there are re­ports to­day in the news­pa­per that a po­si­tion was cre­ated for Barn­aby Joyce’s part­ner in Matt Cana­van’s of­fice. Do you have any re­ac­tion or com­ments on those re­ports?

Sharri Markson and Ky­lar Lous­sikian in The Daily Tele­graph yes­ter­day: Re­sources Min­is­ter Matt Cana­van cre­ated a new, high-salary job for Barn­aby Joyce’s girl­friend as the af­fair cre­ated se­ri­ous dys­func­tion in the Deputy PM’s of­fice. Vikki Cam­pion, who is now liv­ing with Mr Joyce and is preg­nant with his child, was given a new role as a se­nior ad­viser in Cana­van’s of­fice work­ing on his so­cial and dig­i­tal me­dia in April last year, even as oth­ers within the party be­came in­creas­ingly con­cerned at the sit­u­a­tion.

Turn­bull re­spond­ing yes­ter­day: Look, these pri­vate mat­ters are al­ways very dis­tress­ing for those in­volved, I don’t want to add to the pub­lic dis­cus­sion about it.

Another time, another place. The ABC’s AM on Novem­ber 26, 2008: Tony East­ley: The fed­eral op­po­si­tion has ac­cused the act­ing prime min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard of ne­po­tism, af­ter her part­ner was ap­pointed a men’s health am­bas­sador. Tim Mathieson is one of six men selected to help de­velop Aus­tralia’s first men’s health pol­icy. … Re­porter Kir­rin McKech­nie: Se­na­tor Joyce thinks the ap­point­ment smells a lot like ne­po­tism. Barn­aby Joyce: The ques­tion has to be asked: are you truly the best can­di­date? If you’re truly the best can­di­date there are no prob­lems. But if you are ap­pointed by rea­son of a re­la­tion­ship then that’s the old­est one in the book, it’s called ne­po­tism, and it stinks.

Back to the Tele: Mr (sic) Cana­van, who is a close ally of fel­low (Na­tion­als) heavy­weight Mr Joyce, did not have a full-time staff mem­ber in this role prior to Ms Cam­pion’s ap­point­ment. There is no sug- ges­tion that she did not merit be­ing em­ployed in the new po­si­tion.

And then back to yes­ter­day’s press con­fer­ence: Jour­nal­ist: Cathy McGowan sug­gested that pos­si­bly there should be a ban on cer­tain types of re­la­tion­ships between elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and their staff, like the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has just im­ple­mented. What are your thoughts on that? Turn­bull: Well, adults, par­tic­u­larly elected of­fi­cials, mem­bers of par­lia­ment, min­is­ters, all have to be ac­count­able for their ac­tions. As grownups, we are all ac­count­able for our ac­tions. Re­la­tions between con­sent­ing adults is not some­thing that nor­mally you would be jus­ti­fied in, if you like, seek­ing to reg­u­late. Adults can con­duct their re­la­tion­ships, if it’s con­sen­sual, re­spect­ful, that’s their right. But all of us have to be ac­count­able for how we live our lives and of course Barn­aby has been ac­count­able. You’ve seen him there on the 7.30 Re­port, he’s been very up­front about it

Up­front. Joyce to Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7.30 on Wed­nes­day: Well, Leigh, what I want to do is make sure that pri­vate mat­ters re­main pri­vate ... I don’t think it prof­its any­body to drag pri­vate mat­ters out into the pub­lic arena ... it’s a pri­vate mat­ter ... I will keep pri­vate mat­ters pri­vate ... salami slic­ing of a pri­vate life ... pri­vate mat­ters should re­main pri­vate and that’s part of my pri­vate life ... pri­vate mat­ters re­main pri­vate and I’m go­ing to keep my pri­vate life pri­vate ...

Not that pri­vate now. Wash­ing­ton Post head­line on Joyce on Thurs­day: One of Aus­tralia’s staunch­est op­po­nents of same-sex mar­riage just left his wife for his preg­nant girl­friend.

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