While the news last week about Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce may have taken many Australians by surprise, it seems that various members of his party were indeed aware of his dalliance with former staffer Vikki Campion.
For those who may have missed the news, Mr Joyce had an affair with Ms Campion, who is now pregnant with his child, and he has separated from his wife and four children.
Advisor to former prime minister John Howard, Nikki Savva, revealed on ABC Insiders yesterday that “everybody inside the Government knew what was going on ... that he was having an affair with a member of his staff”.
“It was creating problems in the office and basically they were sitting there on a powder keg waiting for it to blow,” said Ms Savva.
Although the Labor Party is not throwing large stones at Mr Joyce’s private life, it has called on him to be completely transparent about the way taxpayer funds were spent during the period of his relationship, and whether Ms Campion received any special treatment when being appointed to positions created for her in two separate National Party offices.
"The only area in which there is a genuine public interest is in the area of expenditure of taxpayer funds," deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek told ABC Insiders.
"There have been questions over the last few days about jobs that have been created for Vikki Campion and the expenditure of taxpayer funds on travel."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is now under pressure to dump Mr Joyce as deputy leader, reports 9NEWS.
However, such a move could effectively spell the end for the Government, considering it only holds a one-seat majority in the Lower House and such a move could damage relations between the Liberal Party and the National Party.
The Government claims that all employment arrangements are above board, but is yet to answer questions about his use of taxpayer funds.
Regardless, Ms Savva believes this may be the final nail in Mr Joyce’s political career.
“I think his career is over,” Ms Savva told ABC Insiders. “Maybe not in the short term but certainly in the medium term.
“I would not expect to see Barnaby leading the Nationals into the next election.”
“Here we have a conservative politician whose girlfriend is having a baby out of wedlock and he has been out there lecturing people on how they should be living their lives.
“Which other politician has been able to survive a set of circumstances like this? The answer is none.”
“In a highly conservative environment, those things all spell disaster and I can’t see how he can survive this.”
Independent MP Cathy McGowan is considering putting forth a motion to ban relationships within government departments, much the same as the US Government.
Read more at The Guardian
On Friday, YourLifeChoices asked its members whether they believed Mr Joyce’s personal actions carried consequences for his position as Deputy PM, or if his private life was just that: private.
And while Australians may be willing to turn a blind eye to Mr Joyce’s private life, it seems that the popular opinion of YourLifeChoices’ members is that Mr Joyce has deceived the public and should be penalised.
We asked the question, “Is it in the Australian public's best interest to learn more about Barnaby Joyce's private life, or is it just interesting for the Australian public?”, to which, YourLifeChoices members responded:
“Agreed, this is an insult to all taxpayers, if this government allows this to go without punishment it forfeits the right to lecture anyone on integrity.” ~ exPS
“Work place sexual affairs should incur instant dismissal. Their affair caused a lot of problems on the job and she was moved away because of this. Taxpayers funded their seedy affair. Barnaby’s cherry red face is proof that politicians party too much and work very little.” ~ Jackie
“It has been inferred that Joyce's current partner was shoehorned into a six-figure job and when she left, the position was not filled. If that allegation is true, it shows a waste of taxpayers' money and must be reported. I have no issue with anyone cheating on their partner per se but I draw the line where public funds are being misused to enable the cheating to take place. There are recorded cases going back to when politics in Australia started of politicians and senior public servants getting a bit on the side and, perhaps, that in itself is none of our business. There are also cases where taxpayers' funds were used to provide holidays, accommodation and transport and that is where I have an issue.” ~ Old Man
“His behaviour is horrible. I feel sure this was known for a long while among his colleagues and they covered for him, honour among thieves?” ~ Kiah
“Not the sort of characteristics one would hope for in a member of parliament, much less a senior member of government and, in my opinion, renders Mr Joyce unfit to hold any position in government.” ~ Eddy
“The way things are going in our Parliament it won't be long before they're having bunga bunga parties like Silvio Berlusconi.” ~ Reagan
However, there are some who feel that Mr Joyce’s private life should remain his own business, even going as far as to wish him well in his ‘new life’.
“Private life is just that … private, so long as it does not affect their job performance.” ~ Freddie
“I will say this, and await the howling, people who live in glass houses should never throw stones. As the saying goes, there but for the grace of god etc, etc, we are after all, all of us, human!
“Hence mistakes happen, and they always will.” ~ PollyEsther
“Personally, I am more concerned with all the perks and pensions pollies receive rather than their private lives.” ~ Marjie
“If we only want saints in politics there will be no one left. I don't support Barnaby’s politics but I can't help but like the guy. He won't be the first guy to make this kind of mistake and I'm not going judge him for it.” ~ tib
“No one here commenting on this situation has the right to moralise on something which they know nothing about except what has been reported. ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ In short, mind your own bloody business!!” ~ Flipsout
“I just read a few posts and am saddened by the lack of understanding and empathy coming from our seniors. I don’t really know what's been going on in the Joyce household. I have absolutely no idea and no interest in knowing. But I do know that love is such an emotional experience that often leads people away from their relationship goals. If we chose to sack everyone who has had a failed marriage then we would have very high unemployment.” ~ Frank
What’s your take on the Barnaby Joyce saga? Is his personal life his own business? Or does it affect his role as Deputy PM? Should the PM sack Mr Joyce? Or should he be pardoned?
Please note, that the opinions stated here are those of YourLifeChoices’ members, and not necessarily those of the Publisher.
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