Barnaby Joyce reveals why he lied to the media about being the father of his new child
When journalists asked Barnaby Joyce whether he was the father of Vikki Campion’s unborn child, the former deputy prime minister struggled to give an answer, saying it was a “grey area”.
The ambiguous answer caused even more controversy for the scandal-ridden politician, who later had to backtrack his denial and clarify that Sebastian was his son.
Now, Mr Joyce has explained the thinking behind his bizarre answer in his new book Weatherboard and Iron: Politics, the Bush and Me.
The politician said his “terrible mistake” was made because he didn’t want to give the media any further details about the affair.
“Somehow I thought that creating doubt by not having all the details might switch this frenzy off,” he wrote.
“You are not logical when under intense pressure for weeks.”
The “grey area” comments made by Mr Joyce opened him up to further ridicule, including from his New England rival Tony Windsor.
Mr Windsor tweeted at the time: “If anyone had doubts about Joyce’s character I think they now have a clear picture of this grub, will sacrifice others on his blundering self-centred path. How many more women does he have to damage?”
Mr Joyce also revealed in the book that he wanted to go away and die following the scandal that ruined his marriage and career.
“When you stop thinking about how sad it will be when you have gone, to thinking, I have hurt so many that I want to go without anybody knowing,” he wrote.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Joyce said he had to receive help from a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with depression.
In his book, he describes how he grew apart from his now estranged wife, Natalie, as he drank heavily and pursued other women in Canberra for years.
“When I was at home I was a lie, and when I was in Canberra I was ashamed,” he wrote.
“Winston Churchill had his black dog: mine was a half-crazed cattle dog, biting everything that came near the yard.
“But the downside comes as well, when you get sad in the afternoon because it’s the afternoon and there are not enough clouds in the sky …
“When you stop thinking about how sad it will be when you have gone, to thinking, I have hurt so many that I want to go without anybody knowing.”
Mr Joyce dedicated the book to his “beloved daughters and son” and wrote to them: “I wish I could have given you a life outside the spotlight I turned on.”
“I wanted the best for you but was blinded in the glare of the exertion.”
He also describes Ms Campion as “my at times, typist, editor, critic and ever-patient partner, sitting tortured behind her keyboard trying to make sense of me.”
It is believed Ms Campion became pregnant around July or August last year, a time in which she transferred from Resource Minister Matt Canavan’s office into a newly created role for Nationals MP Damian Dunn.
During the transition, she did return to Mr Joyce’s office for a number of weeks.