Barnaby Joyce complains about his private life being publicly discussed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has spoken out about his relationship with a former staff who is now expecting his child.

Appearing on the ABC’s 7:30 the Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister said it was a private matter.

“What I want to do is make sure that private matters remain private.” Joyce told host Leigh Sales. “I mean, quite obviously its – I don’t think it profits anybody to drag private matters out into the public arena.”

Joyce said he couldn’t understand why Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph had decided to reveal that he was in a relationship with a former staff member. he had publicly declared that he had separated from his wife of 24 years when he returned to parliament after the New England by-election.

“I can’t quite fathom why, basically, a pregnant lady walking across the road deserves a front page. I don’t know what the political purpose is to that.”

Joyce wouldn’t be drawn on whether his new relationship began while his new partner was a member of his staff, saying he wasn’t going to start “salami slicing” his private life. During the interview Joyce used the word “private” on twenty eight occasions.

Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have backed up the Deputy Prime Minister saying that politicians personal lives should not be a matter for public debate.

Labor’s Anthony Albanese said there was no public benefit to a discussion about Joyce’s private life. While Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne described the decision to publish the story as tabloid journalism.

The public have been quickly to highlight that Joyce was a keen supporter of the marriage postal survey which created months of public discussion on the validity of gay people’s relationships and their families.

Veteran LGBTI Rights campaigner Rodney Croome told News Corp that Joyce deserved the scrutiny.

“You can’t put the lives of tens of thousands of your fellow citizens under the microscope and then expect to avoid scrutiny yourself,” Croome said.

Rodney Croome said the scandal surrounding Joyce’s affair exposed what “traditional marriage” meant for people like Joyce who campaigned against marriage equality.

“It is not a set of standards for heterosexual couples to live up to. It is a euphemism for prejudice against LGBTI people and our exclusion from the core institutions of society,” Croome said.

Critics have also highlighted comments Joyce made in relationship to the roll out of the cervical cancer vaccine in 2006.

“There might be an overwhelming backlash from people saying ‘don’t you dare put something out there that gives my 12-year-old daughter a license to be promiscuous’,” Joyce said at the time.

Independent MPs Bob Katter and Cathy McGowan have suggested a rule be put in place that prohibits politicians from have sexual relationships with their staff members.

OIP Staff

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