Joyce's Marriage breakdown ‘one of my greatest failures’
BARNABY Joyce has opened up about the breakdown of his marriage, describing it as the "greatest failure" in his life and one he is "incredibly sorry" for.
Following revelations he had left his wife and four children for a younger, former staff member, who is now pregnant, the Deputy Prime Minister said the entire affair had been "incredibly painful", saying he was "hurt" the matter had been brought into the public domain.
"I'll say upfront that one of the greatest failures in my life was the end of my marriage," he told the ABC.
"You make the commitment to try and see it through, now I acknowledge that I failed and I'm obviously incredibly sorry about that, but I'm also - like other people incredibly hurt that private issues get dragged into the public arena."For over a year, gossip and innuendo about Mr Joyce's private life had plagued his political career, both in Canberra and New England.
The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday that Mr Joyce, 50, and his former media adviser, Vikki Campion, 33, are madly in love, have moved in together and have a baby due in April.
"Our family has had to be shared during Barnaby's political career and it was with trust that we let campaign and office staff into our home and into our lives," she said.
"Naturally we feel deceived and hurt by the actions of Barnaby and the staff member involved."
In a live interview with ABC's Leigh Sales last night, Mr Joyce said he was not proud of the breakdown of his marriage.
"I can say quite openly it's probably one of the greatest failures of my life. I'm not proud of it but that is, you know, in essence the humanity of who we are," he said.
"That was, you know, obviously a tumultuous time and anyone who has been through a marriage break up would understand that but I'm not going to disseminate beyond that."
Mr Joyce said his situation was not "terribly unusual."
He also said his political life was "completely and utterly consuming" and had taken a toll on his marriage.
"Unfortunately there are a lot of marriages in Australia that come apart, and my relationship coming apart, I don't think makes me terribly unusual," he said.
"In fact, it puts me in the same box as about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of other marriages. I am not for one minute saying that that is an admirable trait, it's obviously it's incredibly painful for everybody involved."
Mr Joyce criticised The Daily Telegraph's publication of the story including a photograph of his girlfriend, Ms Campion, who is seven months pregnant.
"I can't quite fathom why basically a pregnant lady walking across the road deserves a front page," he said.
"I think you have to make a distinct decision to not turn Australia into the United States of America. Private matters will be private and I'll keep my private life private."
Questioned about whether he had ever misused taxpayer funds during the time he and Ms Campion worked together, Mr Joyce said media had trawled through his travel records and "nothing has been turned up because there's nothing there."
Mr Joyce, who opposed same-sex marriage and abstained from the vote in Parliament, confirmed the end of his marriage during the debate over the legislation last year. He and Natalie had four daughters.
Ms Campion, a former journalist at The Daily Telegraph, left Mr Joyce's office in April last year when news of their relationship started to emerge in political offices, to work for one of his closest colleagues, Matt Canavan. She later joined the office of Nationals Chief Parliamentary whip Damian Drum.
She then lost her job when Mr Drum moved from his role as whip to the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Joyce.