Tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday that deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has been having an affair with his former staffer, 33-year-old Vikki Campion, and that she is now pregnant with his child.
News broke this week that Nationals leader and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce's new partner, a former staffer in his office, was pregnant.
The revelation provoked an outraged response from Joyce's wife, Natalie Joyce, who said in a statement that it was "devastating on many fronts" and that she felt "deceived and hurt".
Ms Campion is a former journalist at the Telegraph who worked as a media advisor to Mr Joyce before moving to Senator Matt Canavan's office in April.
After a campaign in which he was forced to fend off questions about his private life, Joyce won back his seat of New England in a resounding victory and resumed his position as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister to Liberal leader, Malcolm Turnbull. She is now no longer employed by the Turnbull government, according to The Daily Telegraph, after her contract ended in December.
Barnaby Joyce appears on 7.30 on the ABC
The Department of Finance's disclosure log reveals journalists past year were trying to glean information out of Barnaby Joyce's comcar records.
Who is Vikki Campion, Barnaby's new partner?
Mr Joyce refused to comment on whether the workplace relationship was inappropriate.
"Look my personal view is that this is a private matter", Dan Tehan, the Minister for Social Services told ABC's Radio National yesterday morning, "It should be up to the individual, what they would like to put into the public domain or not".
A friend of the Deputy Prime Minister said the pregnancy was shrouded in secrecy because he was concerned about the well-being of his daughters.
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"Once we start going through this salami slicing of a private life, where does it end?" he said.
Defence industry minister Christopher Pyne told 5AA it was Australia was engaging in "Fleet Street" journalism.
Outside of describing the end of his marriage as "one of the greatest failures of his life", the bulk of the interview is Joyce reiterating that he doesn't believe that any of his (or anyone's) private life should be made public and insisting that there was no impropriety as it relates to his spending taxpayer funds.
Labor's Chris Bowen also declined to comment on the story in front of Parliament House today saying he wished Barnaby Joyce all the best in his family life.
"I have plenty of criticisms of Barnaby Joyce".
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"Frankly, his personal situation is none of my business, and with respect it is none of anybody else's business. They just don't think you're going to be there", he admitted in the same interview. "I don't know what the political goal is to that".
"I think it's a great pity that this has happened to Barnaby Joyce and his family", he said.
He did, however, briefly acknowledge during the debate on the legislation that he had separated from his wife, the first public utterance of his marital issues.
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