Politics

Barnaby Joyce Is Now Saying He Might Not Even Be The Father Of His Ex-Staffer’s Baby

Why... would he say this?

Let me recap: Barnaby Joyce was Deputy Prime Minister, then he had an affair with a staffer, then that staffer fell pregnant, then everyone got mad, then pressure within the National party grew, and then he resigned.

But now the ex-Deputy PM has come out and said, after all that, that the baby at the centre of this entire thing might not even be his.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Joyce said his fatherhood was “a bit of a grey area”.

Joyce said this as part of an attack on the Daily Telegraph, which first broke the news of his affair alongside a paparazzi-style picture of Joyce’s ex-staffer/new partner, Vikki Campion.

“How could they know? They never even asked if it was Joyce’s bundle,” he claimed.

But it turns out Joyce wasn’t telling the truth. Sharri Markson, the journo who first broke the story, explicitly asked whether the child was his.

In an email to Joyce’s office, the first question that Markson asked was:

“Is Mr Joyce the father of the baby and when is the baby due?”

The tricky thing is that there actually is some doubt about who the father is. The baby, which is due in early April, was conceived at some point in late June or early July. But Joyce was in Europe last year from June 23 to early July. When he returned to Australia, he had to be acting Prime Minister, which meant there was a lot of security around him at almost all times.

Phillip Coorey, the Australian Financial Review‘s chief political correspondent, told the ABC’s Insiders this morning that the reason he didn’t pursue the story was because he wasn’t convinced that the baby was actually Joyce’s.

“When these rumours were circulating late last year, amidst all the other chaos in Parliament,” Coorey said. “I know personally I was told it wasn’t his baby, when I heard Ms Campion was pregnant, and that was one of the reasons some of us didn’t pursue the story.”

A lot of people are now pretty confused — and not just about whether Joyce resigned due to a false story. Why would the ex-Deputy PM offer up something like this in an interview? And why now? It’s all a bit of a mess.

Joyce said he has no plans to take a paternity test.