As I related some months ago, Barnaby Joyce’s horizontal peccadillo was not the problem, it was the continuous rorting of the system1. At the time, he demanded that people respect his privacy with “private lives are just that: private”. His right to privacy was also defended by his political colleagues and opponents. This was after the Murdoch rag, the Daily Telegraph, plastered images of a heavily pregnant Vikki Campion on the front page above its story concerning her pregnancy2. Subsequently, in his usual self-absorbed obnoxious style, he stated that the paternity of the baby was “a grey area”3.
Now, however, to take the cake, Joyce and Campion have been paid $150,000 for an interview on Channel Seven. Joyce stated, again in a claim to blamelessness, that it was Campion’s decision, and that the money would be put in a trust for their recently arrived baby4. This is simply a way to try to pretend that the money will not go into their pockets. Money in trust for the baby is money they do not have to supply later on. I can understand Joyce’s desperation given that most people’s expenditure tends to expand to use most of their income. His salary as Deputy Prime Minister used to be about $415,000, and now it has dropped to less than half, at $203,000, now he is a simple backbencher5. On top of this, he now has an extra family to support.
After the cash for interview bombshell, the support Joyce previously received from his colleagues very quickly evaporated. Seemingly in a blue funk at this lack of support, Joyce has now gone on 4 weeks of ‘personal leave’ until the end of June, but will be away for 11 weeks in total because of the Parliamentary winter break, which ends on the 13thof August6.
The sense of entitlement that Joyce has is common among parliamentarians and is part of the reason the current crop is looked upon with such disdain. This is especially true of Joyce’s National Party, whose members seem to have forgotten who they are there to represent7. During his little holiday, Joyce may be considering his future in parliament. He could possibly sting Gina Rinehart for a sinecure, but that is not a long-term prospect, because when he is out of parliament, he loses a significant proportion of his market value. If (moderately) hard times intrude, I doubt that the self-absorbed Joyce will stick around with Campion and all those dirty nappies.