Barnaby Joyce ‘won’t return until August’
BARNABY Joyce met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday and was granted extended personal leave effective immediately.
Sky News political reporter Laura Jayes reported Mr Joyce will be on leave for 11 weeks and won't return until the next Parliamentary sitting in August.
The news comes days before a tell-all interview with Mr Joyce and his partner Vikki Campion. The pair reportedly received $150,000 from Channel Seven for the interview.
In a sneak-peak of the Sunday Night exclusive, Ms Campion tells the program: "You can't help who you fall in love with."
A first look at part of the interview that's dividing opinion. The tell-all from @Barnaby_Joyce and his partner Vikki Campion. "You can't help it. You can't help, you can't help who you fall in love with" - Vikki Campion. @Riley7News #auspol #7News pic.twitter.com/0bRTuIUSQ5— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) 29 May 2018
The decision by Australia's former deputy prime minister to sell his story about having a love child with his former aide sparked derision Tuesday and calls for politicians to be banned from paid interviews.
Mr Joyce, who was forced to quit in February and move to the backbench over his affair with his 33-year-old former media adviser, told Channel Seven the money he received for telling his story will go into a trust fund for the pair's son, Sebastian.
Prior to the pair's meeting on Tuesday, Mr Turnbull said he planned to raise the matter privately with the married Joyce, whose smaller National Party rules alongside the prime minister's Liberals.
"It's certainly not … a course of action that I would've encouraged him to take, I'll put it that way," he told broadcaster ABC.
"I think you can understand how I feel about it but I'll just be circumspect, uncharacteristically circumspect, on this and leave it for a private discussion."
News that Mr Joyce, 50, had left his wife of 24 years to be with Ms Campion gripped Australia earlier this year.
The saga took another twist when Mr Joyce questioned the paternity of the baby boy, who has since been born.
After it was revealed Mr Joyce and Ms Campion would be paid for their interview, Mr Joyce said he was tired of being hassled by the media.
"We tried for privacy. In the last fortnight we've had drones over our house. We've had paparazzi waiting for us outside Armidale airport. We've had people following us, we've tried just burning this out and that didn't work," Mr Joyce said.
"Remember there are other people in this interview, being Vikki and Seb, so if it was just an interview with me as a politician, sure, I am not going to charge for that," he told The Australian.
"But that is not what they wanted. They wanted an interview obviously to get Vikki's side of the story and like most mothers she said, 'Seeing as I am being screwed over and there are drones and everything over my house in the last fortnight, paparazzi waiting for me, if everybody else is making money then [I am] going to make money out of it'."
- with AFP