Barnaby Joyce and pregnant girlfriend give first interview

Australian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce's affair with his ex-staffer was revealed in February.
Australian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce's affair with his ex-staffer was revealed in February. Photo credit: Getty

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister has given his first interview with his pregnant partner since news broke of their affair.

Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion told Fairfax they believe the public should move on from the scandal, which has dominated Australian politics for the past two weeks.

Mr Joyce, who is currently on personal leave, announced in December 2017 that he and wife Natalie would be separating. His affair with his former staffer Ms Campion, who is 17 years his junior and pregnant with his son, was revealed in early February.

The scandal has prompted a major rule change in Australian parliament banning MPs from engaging in sexual relations with members of staff. 

On February 15 the Australian senate voted in favour of a motion calling on Mr Joyce to resign, a message he has chosen to ignore. He could face a leadership challenge when he returns to Parliament next week, but told Fairfax he is "never scared of democracy".

The couple were interviewed in the property gifted to Mr Joyce rent-free by a friend, but he said they would soon be moving out because their address was now public knowledge.

Ms Campion refused to be photographed for the interview, and her only comment was that her son's middle name would be in honour of her brothers. 

Mr Joyce said the media's questions about their affair had changed from "inquiry to malice".

"I don't want to say have sympathy for me," he said. 

"I just want people to look clinically at the facts and basically come to the conclusion he is not getting a gold star for his personal life, but he has made a commitment, he is with her, they're having a child, and in a 2018 world there is nothing terribly much to see there."

He believes it's time for the public to move on from his infidelity, and he's unhappy with the moral judgment he feels he's received. 

"The tide will turn because people will get bored of it," Mr Joyce said.

"This should be a very simple story - a bloke whose marriage broke down is in a relationship with another person and they are having a child. Now it seems to have gone into some sort of morality discussion. That's between me and my God. 

"How it's other people's business, I don't know."

Mr Joyce, who has four daughters with his estranged wife, said he doesn't want his child with Ms Campion to be treated any differently.

"I don't want our child to grow up as some sort of public display," he said. 

"I have to stop it from the start. It's a fact we are having a child, it's a fact it's a boy, it's not more or less loved than any of my other children."

Mr Joyce said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has condemned Mr Joyce's conduct, was not aware of the affair before the news broke. 

He said had he been asked directly about his relationship with Ms Campion, he probably would have lied.