The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE -

DIS­GRACED for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce says he is un­sure if he is the fa­ther of the baby be­ing car­ried by his part­ner Vikki Cam­pion be­cause he was trav­el­ling in Europe at the time of the child’s ap­par­ent con­cep­tion.

The bizarre claim by Mr Joyce — who re­signed his lead­er­ship of the Na­tional Party af­ter the preg­nancy of his lover and for­mer staffer was re­vealed — comes af­ter a month in which he lashed out at the me­dia and ri­val politi­cians for tak­ing an in­ter­est in his “pri­vate fam­ily mat­ter”.

In an in­ter­view with Fair­fax Me­dia pub­lished to­day, dur­ing which Ms Cam­pion was at times present, Mr Joyce said the child’s pa­ter­nity was “a bit of a grey area”. He did not sug­gest who else the fa­ther might be, but added he had no in­ten­tion of get­ting a pa­ter­nity test.

It is be­lieved the child is due in April.

The lat­est claim comes af­ter Mr Joyce said this week: “It’s mine. On the record, there it is. And can I say, even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t care, I’d still go through this, I’d still love him.”

But he at­tacked The Daily Tele­graph for pub­lish­ing a page-one picture of Ms Cam­pion un­der the head­ing “Bun­dle of Joyce”.

He said: “How could they know? They never even asked if it was ‘Joyce’s bun­dle’.”

But be­fore those pho­to­graphs were pub­lished, The Daily Tele­graph di­rectly asked Mr Joyce’s chief of staff if Mr Joyce was the fa­ther. He did not re­ply. The Sun­day Tele­graph re­peat­edly ap­proached Mr Joyce, Ms Cam­pion and the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice over re­cent months re­quest­ing in­ter­views about the preg­nancy and were re­fused.

Mr Joyce has not pre­vi­ously de­nied pa­ter­nity.

Mr Joyce’s fu­ri­ous wife Natalie ap­pears in no doubt, say­ing in Fe­bru­ary: “I’m deeply sad­dened that my hus­band is now hav­ing a child with a for­mer staff mem­ber.”

Joyce and Cam­pion.

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