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
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.