Lisa Wilkinson: You Can't Plead For Privacy And Then Sell Your Story To The Highest Bidder

Barnaby Joyce can’t have it both ways.

He can’t insist he wants privacy for his new partner and baby -- and then sell his story to the highest bidder for $150K, as he has reportedly done with Channel Seven.

He can’t maintain that all he wants now is to focus on seeing the Government win the next election -- and then re-open one of the most personally icky, politically and morally hypocritical, troublesome and damaging episodes in the life of the Turnbull era.

He can’t declare that he’s all about protecting his daughters and former wife from more pain from his marital breakdown -- and then, one more time, summon the nation’s media to trawl through the whole thing again, inevitably rubbing more sad salt into their still weeping wounds.

Why can't I have it both ways? Image: Getty.

He can’t be a working politician, still living off the public purse, with the stated job of looking after the concerns of his constituents -- while running a money-making operation on the side which sees him sell the details of his behaviour while on the public teat, behaviour which horrified both his political masters and the public at large.

He can’t say he wants to work hard to rehabilitate his image and credibility with the public, with a view to remaking himself -- and then invite the media circus back into town, while he helps them sell tickets to the Big Show.

He can’t lecture the Prime Minister on how he must do the “honourable thing”, and resign his position if his polls don’t improve, and then be the main character on the cheapest soap opera in town, and one which will absolutely guarantee to drive those polls lower.

He cannot, in short, indulge in this level of sheer, jaw-dropping hypocrisy on so many levels at once, and expect to be seen as doing anything other than nakedly cashing in on a desperately unhappy story, with no regard for the impact it makes on anyone (least of all his own family), or anything other than his own bank account.

And yes, yes, yes, there are claims that he won’t personally benefit from the money, that it will all be put in a trust fund that he won’t control etc.


We have heard it all before.

For decades.

Do I hear one hundred and fifty thousand? Image: Getty.

Back in the 1990s, I remember Alan Bond claiming the same when selling the story of his marriage to second wife, Diana Bliss, to the Australian Women’s Weekly. They paid on the understanding that all six figures would go to charity.

In fact, try as they frustratingly might to get proof that this in fact had happened, it was to no avail. All bets were that the charity was in fact Bond himself.

So stop this, Barnaby.

Look one more time at your impassioned words in February this year, where you said, “It’s a private matter and I don't think [the media interest] helps me. I don't think it helps my family. I don't think it helps anybody. I will keep private matters private.”

Could anyone who is the author of such words just three months later bring cameras into his home, and still hope to retain a shred of credibility for anything he says on anthing from this point on?

Barnaby, you really can’t have it both ways. If you’ll sell yourself, your family and your government out in that manner, what won’t you sell?