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Barnaby lodges privacy complaint while banking tell-all cash

Politics

Does it pass the pub test for Barnaby Joyce to launch action in defence of his privacy while pocketing $150,000 for a tell-all interview with partner Vikki Campion about their new family?

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“It depends which pub you go in,” according to Nationals MP David Gillespie.

Coalition colleagues are refusing to judge Joyce for doing the paid interview, pouring fresh fuel on a scandal which forced the former deputy prime minister to the backbench.

“What Barnaby and Vikki decide on is their decision, I’m not going to be second-guessing what they should or shouldn’t be doing,” Gillespie told Sky News today.

“I wouldn’t be doing interviews for cash, but that’s their choice.”

Gillespie said many people in his NSW seat of Lyne, which neighbours Mr Joyce’s New England electorate, were disappointed to see him demoted.

Nationals senator John “Wacka” Williams was also loath to buy into the saga engulfing his partyroom mate.

“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,” Williams told ABC radio.

“I’m not going to make a judgment one way or another about whether he’s doing right or wrong.”

It is unclear how much tension the interview will stir within the Nationals, with Senator Williams conceding while “it’s getting plenty of headlines”, it’s yet to be determined if “people are going to be annoyed about it”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was staying out of the debate.

“It’s up to Mr Joyce to explain himself and his conduct,” Shorten told reporters in Tasmania.

Seven’s Sunday Night program won out in a bidding war with the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes to secure the exclusive interview.

The couple will speak to Seven, despite Joyce lodging an Australian Press Council complaint against The Daily Telegraph for breaching his privacy by exposing the affair in February.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson said the complaint was a question for Joyce.

“I’m not in the habit of making complaints to the press council, but I’m also not in the habit of taking sums of cash for interviews either,” Wilson said.

Joyce was bumped to the backbench after his relationship with Campion, his former staffer, became public. Their son was born on April 16.

He has split from his wife Natalie, the mother of his four daughters.

– AAP

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