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The Weekend Australian - - FRONT PAGE - JOE KELLY

Bill Shorten has urged Malcolm Turn­bull to pro­vide an as­sur­ance there was “noth­ing un­to­ward” in the in­ter­nal staff move­ments of Barn­aby Joyce’s part­ner, Vikki Cam­pion, af­ter the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice ap­proved a move to a more se­nior po­si­tion with a pay rise.

The Week­end Aus­tralian un­der­stands Ms Cam­pion, who is preg­nant to Mr Joyce, was moved into a po­si­tion as a se­nior ad­viser in se­na­tor Matt Cana­van’s of­fice last April. Turn­bull gov­ern­ment sources yes­ter­day said the job swap ap­proved by the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice saw her el­e­vated from Mr Joyce’s me­dia ad­viser to Se­na­tor Cana­van’s se­nior ad­viser un­til the dual-cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis forced him to stand down as re­sources min­is­ter in July.

Min­is­te­rial staffing pay scales pub­lished by the Fi­nance De­part­ment show that, as a se­nior ad­viser to Se­na­tor Cana­van, Ms Cam­pion was in line to earn up to $191,084. The cur­rent en­ter­prise agree­ment for MPs states that staff clas­si­fied as “se­nior ad­vis­ers” are en­ti­tled to re­ceive a pri­vate-plated ve­hi­cle or a “ve­hi­cle al­lowance” of more than $24,000 per an­num. The agree­ment, as of April 2017, also pro­vides for a par­lia­men­tary staff al­lowance for “se­nior staff” of $31,571. Mr Joyce’s of­fice yes­ter­day would not con­firm how much Ms Cam­pion was paid as a se­nior me­dia ad­viser in his of­fice but The Week­end Aus­tralian un­der­stands salaries for sim­i­lar roles paid up to $164,878. The Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice must ap­prove staff salaries.

While in Se­na­tor Cana­van’s of­fice, Ms Cam­pion, 32, worked closely with the Na­tion­als’ head of­fice or­gan­is­ing last year’s fed­eral con­fer­ence in Canberra, and work­ing with re­gional MPs in

Queens­land ahead of last year’s state elec­tion.

The Week­end Aus­tralian un­der­stands the po­si­tion with Se­na­tor Cana­van was not ad­ver­tised and was filled in­ter­nally by Ms Cam- pion, who was co-or­di­nat­ing the so­cial me­dia strat­egy across the Na­tion­als’ par­lia­men­tary team, in­clud­ing that of Mr Joyce.

Na­tion­als sources yes­ter­day said Ms Cam­pion, a for­mer deputy chief of staff at The Daily Tele­graph, was qual­i­fied to take the po­si­tion with Se­na­tor Cana­van.

When Se­na­tor Cana­van stood aside over his cit­i­zen­ship drama, Ms Cam­pion and his staff were trans­ferred to Mr Joyce’s of­fice. Soon af­ter, a po­si­tion was ap­proved by the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice and cre­ated in Na­tion­als Whip Damian Drum’s of­fice for Ms Cam­pion.

Speak­ing in Glad­stone yes­ter­day, Mr Shorten called on the Prime Min­is­ter to pro­vide an ex­pla­na­tion on Ms Cam­pion’s job move­ments, but was care­ful not to take the is­sue fur­ther. “I think it would be wise of Mr Turn­bull to re­as­sure the Aus­tralian pub­lic that noth­ing un­to­ward has oc­curred here,” Mr Shorten said. “Barn­aby Joyce’s pri­vate life is his busi­ness.”

When pressed on the is­sue of Ms Cam­pion’s em­ploy­ment, Mr Turn­bull said he was “not aware of any in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pen­di­ture of pub­lic funds”. He said he was “very con­scious of the hurt” Mr Joyce’s wife, Natalie, and their four daugh­ters were go­ing through.

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