Barnaby Joyce: The Tell-All Interview And The Questions It Left Unanswered
It was a high price to pay for an expose with holes.
Pitched as the tell-all interview to end all discussion regarding their relationship and the media storm that followed it, Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion's $150,000 sit down has managed to leave a lot of questions unanswered.
Complex Personal Life On Display
With Joyce by her side, Campion broke her silence on the matter for the first time during the highly anticipated -- though highly criticised -- interview on Seven's Sunday Night, claiming she had been pressured to terminate the couple's baby by "people within Parliament."
“They came to me and they said ‘You’re pregnant and you have to get an abortion’. And they said, ‘If you don’t, they’re gonna come after you’,” Campion said.
“And I said it’s too late, it has a heartbeat. And they said, ‘If you don’t, they’re gonna come after you."
"And they did," Joyce added.
When asked who "they" were, Campion simply said "people who are supposed to be conservatives."
"I wouldn’t want to tar and brush everyone in the National Party as like that, at all," she said.
Campion, who gave birth to baby Sebastian six weeks ago, also revealed she herself had considered abortion, going so far as to purchase the necessary medication before deciding not to go through with it.
“I bought the medicine online. You can’t do it in the ACT. I drove interstate. I walked in. And then I walked out again,” she explained.
She attributed her decision to Joyce's anti-abortion stance and the fact it had been a "miracle" she had conceived at all due to her own medical issues.
Joyce, who is currently on extended personal leave from his position on the Backbench, referred to the Australian Parliament as a "mad boarding school", after describing the interference of his colleagues as "dark and insidious".
"I don’t believe in abortion, so I just knew straight away that basically... I was gonna lose my job as the deputy prime minister," he said.
Despite the apparent quick realisation, some two weeks passed before Joyce did step down from his position. That decision came after having received a public dressing-down from Prim Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said his deputy had made a "shocking error of judgement."
"I never expected a gold star and I did not expect the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia to go and do a doorstop on it. That was wrong,” Joyce said of Turnbull's decision.
“Generally what happens in these things is… you admonish someone privately, and you support them publicly. That’s the sort of golden rule."
It's not new information to anyone that Joyce has a particular adeptness for saying the wrong thing, and the former Nationals leader was true to form on a few occasions during the interview.
When asked who initiated the relationship Joyce became defensive, shutting down all questions regarding the failure of his marriage and seemingly becoming confused about the definition of the term 'affair' when asked if that's what the relationship was.
During a rather odd dispute between the couple regarding who was more to blame for the affair, Joyce claimed he was more responsible because he was "the adult."
Campion, a 32-year-old woman, responded with "I'm an adult too."
“Yeah, well... I suppose... I just think it’s... we should have... I don’t like them looking at you, saying, ‘Oh, you know, the scarlet woman, you know, it takes two to tango, and I was... And I was part of that,” Joyce attempted to explain.
The couple also addressed Joyce's highly questionable decision to claim the paternity of Campion's baby was a "grey area".
When he commented the couple had made the decision together to give that story to a journalist, Campion looked confused and explained how she had been "deeply hurt" by the claim.
Joyce then went on to explain that he had made the comment due to the media scrutiny pushing him to say "something crazy."
Revelations though there were, the interview still managed to avoid the biggest questions Australians have had since Joyce's Bundle first made an appearance.
The circumstances surrounding Campion's movements between jobs in different Nationals MPs' offices, the couple's questioned travel claims, and the details regarding the free accommodation provided by the influential New England businessman Greg Maguire were issues left untouched.
While those who tuned in have walked away more educated on baby Sebastian's bright blue eyes, his paternally-inherited red hue and received a quick lesson from the Barnaby Joyce Academy of Shutting Down Questions, few are much the wiser regarding many of the issues that sparked public discourse in the first place.
The couple confirmed reports the $150,000 sum the Seven Network had paid for the interview was all going to their newborn son, being placed into a trust.
“As far as I see it, everybody else is making money out of Sebastian, except for Sebastian,” Campion said.
"So let’s actually take some of that, put it in a trust and then he can use that for his education and his health. Neither of us can access it.”
Joyce's decision to accept payment for this interview sparked wide-spread criticism, following his demands for privacy following the scandal's outbreak, and viewers on social media wasted no time in reacting to the interview once it was underway.