Sunday, 11 February 2018

Why so many voters are annoyed by Barnaby Joyce's statement* that his private life is a private matter

When it influences staff positions and even contributes to winners and losers in a reshuffle, Barnaby's affair with a younger staffer is not a private matter” [Stephen Mayne on Twitter, 9 February 2018]

During the lengthy extramarital relationship with a member of his staff Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce:

* arranged for a change of employment for the staffer in this relationship. She was employed at taxpayers’ expense by another federal minister, in a senior position specifically created for her with a six-figure annual salary;

* successfully sought a second staff position for his former staffer when that federal minister was forced to resign from the front bench while a dual citizenship claim was resolved. This second position was with the Nationals Chief Whip - resulting in him having two people in his office doing the same job at taxpayers' expense;

* left his wife of 24 years and their four children;

* began living rent-free with the now pregnant former staffer in an Armidale townhouse owned by multi-millionaire ­businessman Greg ­Maguire who himself attracted some political controversy in 2004-2006 concerning potential breaches of the Electoral Act;

* allegedly assaulted a member of the public in a pub in his electorate for referring to the former staffer as his “mistress”;

* publicly admitted in parliament to separating from his wife but not to the extramarital relationship; and

Only the fact that his marriage had ended could be rightly said to be a private matter.

Five of the seven dot points above go to issues concerning fitness for office, possible corrupt conduct and what may be an in-kind political donation in a by-election year and not the post-election "gift" listed on the Register of Members' Interests on 3 January 2018.

Those issues are not private. 

As much as he wants to, Barnaby Joyce cannot pretend to be a victim of unfair media scrutiny.


Fifty year-old Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce, an accountant by profession, came into the Australian Senate in 2004 and his election appears to have not been without some passing controversy at the time.

He resigned from the Senate and was elected to the House of Representatives for New England, New South Wales, for the first time in 2013 then re-elected in 2016. 

Joyce refused to step down as deputy prime minister and refused to resign from the Australian Parliament once the New Zealand Government confirmed he was a citizen by descent of that country and he was referred to the High Court of Australia concerning the claim of dual citizenship. He continued to sit in the House of Representatives in contravention of the Australian Constitution.

His election was ruled void on 27 October 2017 under section 44 of the Australian Constitution. The High Court of ruling him ineligible from 2 June 2016, having found he held New Zealand and well as Australian citizenship since birth.

Having renounced his New Zealand citizenship in August 2017 he was elected at the New England by-election on 2 December 2017.

* Barnaby Joyce Statement 

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