Barnaby’s $150K love child tell-all ‘reeks of hypocrisy’
BARNABY Joyce and his mistress Vikki Campion will take $150,000 to detail what they claim to be a private affair that spawned a love child while formally asking the media watchdog to censure The Daily Telegraph for exposing their relationship.
The Telegraph can today reveal Mr Joyce, who has been paid almost $3 million by taxpayers as a federal politician, and his former adviser turned secret lover have complained to the Australian Press Council claiming their privacy was breached.
Yet in an extraordinary decision by a senior politician who still believes he should be deputy prime minister, the pair have sold their privacy to a tabloid TV show.
In February, The Telegraph revealed in an explosive front-page story the then Nationals leader - who is separated from his wife, the mother of his four daughters - was expecting his first son with Ms Campion. Their baby Sebastian was born last month.
Ms Campion filed a complaint with the APC in March, claiming the reporting of her pregnancy breached their privacy.
Under Press Council rules, The Daily Telegraph cannot disclose details of the complaint or quote correspondence from the council until the matter is finalised.
However, The Daily Telegraph is entitled to report a complaint has been made regarding its decision to publish news of Ms Campion's pregnancy and relationship with Mr Joyce.
News of the complaint as the couple have accepted a six-figure sum to tell their story will raise more concerns among MPs about Mr Joyce's political judgment.
Turnbull government MPs were yesterday scathing over Mr Joyce's decision to sell his story to the highest bidder, Channel 7's Sunday Night program.
"To seek privacy and then on the other hand to seek an interview deal seems to reek of hypocrisy, doesn't it?" one Coalition backbencher said.
Another MP said of Ms Campion's Press Council complaint: "This is a clear case of double standards and that's regrettable."
Since he entered the Senate in 2005, Mr Joyce has taken home a taxpayer-funded salary totalling $2.9 million.
On top of this, he was flown around the country at taxpayer expense with free hotel accommodation.
His salary is still $203,000, more than double that of the average Australian, and as deputy PM it was $400,000.
A backbench Coalition MP spoke of "genuine shock" that Mr Joyce would sell his story for such a large sum of money.
"Journalists shouldn't have to get the chequebook out to get answers to questions from Members of Parliament," the MP said.
Labor's Anthony Albanese said Mr Joyce should not have sold his story to Channel 7.
"How Barnaby Joyce deals with his personal life is a matter for him and his family, but I don't support politicians being paid for media interviews," he told the Telegraph.
The Daily Telegraph will vigorously defend the complaint lodged by Ms Campion in the press council.