Vikki Campion before giving birth.
Vikki Campion before giving birth.

Barnaby Joyce interview a new low for Australian politics

THE Barnaby and Vikki Show will be a TV ratings high but a new low for Australian politics.

The former deputy prime minister and his partner Vikki Campion have sold the story of their relationship to the Seven Network for $150,000, with the money to go to their baby.

It will be seen by many voters as Barnaby Joyce and Ms Campion cashing in on a pair of dysfunctional lives which had already been heavily subsidised by the taxpayer.

And those used to promotional tactics will be aware Mr Joyce is heading towards publication in August of a book on his political and private adventures.

We are watching Joyce-Campion Enterprises in operation.

Keep reminding yourself: This bloke is still on $200,000 a year to promote the interests of the people of New England.

He is not getting taxpayer money so he can indulge in self-promotion.

This episode raises the issue of politicians charging for interviews, and certainly the Joyce circumstances relate to matters of public relevance.

Both he and Ms Campion met through public office and their relationship developed while on the public payroll.

Nationals senator John "Wacka" Williams, a good friend of the former deputy prime minister, says he would judge Mr Joyce on his work for the people of his New England electorate.

"What he does with his private life with him and Vikki and his son Sebastian, that's up to him to decide, it's not for me to judge," Senator Williams told ABC radio on Monday.

But the reluctance of many Government MPs and ministers to comment on the Barnaby and Vikki Show should not be taken as an indication of approval.

On the contrary, most would be, to adopt a word used by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the affairs, "appalled".

The Seven Network can't be blamed for offering six figures for the Barnaby and Vikki Show.

It has the nasty and confronting ingredients of a tacky spectacular soap opera - the man of power who falls for the pretty adviser, breaks up with a long-loyal wife, has a child with his new lover although he's not sure it's his.

And that is the chief element of contention, the arch point of hypocrisy in this matter. It's not a soap opera. Real lives are involved, including that of newborn Sebastian.

Mr Joyce once demanded privacy in that tough-guy, bullying bluster he uses when aggressive.



He declared his personal life must not suffer the intrusion of journalists and others.

Unless, apparently, the journalists turn up with a cheque book.

The constant Joyce claims of victimhood were never convincing and look extremely tatty now he has decided to exploit his personal circumstances for money.

And his position is not remedied by the device of putting the Seven cheque into a trust for Sebastian rather than directly into the Joyce bank account.

The baby has become a commodity for the former deputy prime minister to put on the auction block.

He deserves a better legacy than that. He will grow up knowing he was exploited by his mother and father at a time when he was not able to give his consent.

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