‘Wh***’: Natalie Joyce's stoush with Vikki
IN A mess of explosive moments that one-upped each other throughout the Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion affair, one rumoured incident remained the most intriguing - and now Natalie Joyce has given a play-by-play.
For months, details about a sensational confrontation between Natalie and Barnaby's mistress were whispered about. Legend has it Natalie whirled up to Vikki on the main drag of Tamworth and showed no mercy. Witnesses recall the word "homewrecker" being thrown around. Others say she "tore strips" off Vikki.
The face-off is arguably the most fascinating part of this whole narrative because it was a turning point for Natalie. It would definitely be one of the most captivating scenes if the deputy prime minister's downfall was ever turned into a telemovie with Rachel Griffiths convincingly playing a vulnerable yet stoic Natalie.
Anyway, for a long time the details were vague and unknown.
"I can't repeat the words on TV," Vikki said softly.
But in Natalie Joyce's interview with The Australian Women's Weekly, she was more than happy to repeat the words and give a comprehensive breakdown of the moment she called out the poorly kept secret.
"The fact she [Vikki] went on national TV to talk about the stoush means it's best I set the record straight," Natalie told the magazine this week.
It was a warm day in March when the mum-of-four found herself hurtling down the highway towards Tamworth. Barnaby hadn't been around for months. He just stopped coming home.
Natalie had her suspicions. So when she was told her husband and his mistress were in town at his local electorate office, she picked up the keys and jumped in the car.
Each nudge of the accelerator pumped a little more adrenaline through her veins.
" … Their tawdry union was the worst kept secret in Canberra. I was probably the last silly mug to know," she told the AWW.
She didn't know exactly what she would say to the pair when she pulled up. But she'd been silently stewing on the situation for long enough - probably doing that thing you do where you have fake arguments with people in the shower and rehearse your comebacks, should the feud ever actually happen.
What music was she playing in the car? The Australian Women's Weekly didn't ask. In my mind, Natalie flicked on the stereo and that Hole song Celebrity Skin was playing. She would've turned it up - the distorted guitar riff and Courtney Love's reckless growls blowing like a gust of wind through the tangled mess Natalie had become trapped in. She would've yelled along to the chorus, not entirely sure of the lyrics, but feeling alive anyway.
Passing a Stop, Revive, Survive shelter on the highway, Natalie would've rolled her eyes at the cautious suggestion. She had been trying to revive and survive for months. It was time to go a little berserk.
Within 30 minutes, she was turning into the bustling street in the centre of town. The moment had come.
When word of the confrontation first circulated, I imagined it occurred out the front of a haberdashery on the quaint, dusty main road of Tamworth with Natalie wearing a chic 1940s outfit - a stark contrast to an emotionless Vikki in all black. Maybe the warm country breeze would've blown a lone tumbleweed down the way as Natalie made eye contact with Vikki.
A quick Google Earth search of the street shows no tumbleweeds or a haberdashery. But there is a Hog's Breath.
"I was very measured," Natalie told AWW, recalling the confrontation. "And made sure I didn't raise my voice. She and Barney were smoking outside. He bolted when he saw me.
"I turned to her and said, 'My husband is out of bounds, off-limits, he's a married man with four children,' and then I called her a home-wrecking wh***."
Measured, indeed. It was a slam dunk. And as the bells of the clock on top of the limestone town hall chimed loud and long at high noon, Natalie walked away.
OK, that part's made up. Natalie doesn't really provide an ending to the anecdote.
But I've long suspected townsfolk cheered and waved their wool flat caps in the air as a grim-faced Vikki was left standing alone in the street while a horse and carriage rolled by.
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