Australia's Deputy Prime Minister says failed marriage one of his life's greatest failures

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is a family man and a father of four, with one more on the way.

The problem - this one is not with his wife.

"I'll say upfront that one of the greatest failures in my life was the end of my marriage," Mr Joyce says. 

He was revealed this week to be having an affair with Vikki Campion, a former staffer, 17 years his junior, who is now pregnant with their child.

And even his future in-laws aren't impressed.

"I'm saving him a place by the fire and when I say by the fire, I mean over the fire," says Peter Campion - Vikki Campion's father  who says he never knew.

"It's disappointing that you'd try to hide something like that from the public and even from your future father-in-law."

Mr Joyce says the matter is private, not public .

"I can't quite fathom why a pregnant lady walking across the road deserves a front page."

But it seems it's he who has blurred the lines.

Mr Joyce won't say when the affair began, but his wife says she's "deeply saddened" the affair dates back "many months"  to when Ms Campion was still "a paid employee".

Now, there are new criticisms and claims that Mr Joyce had one of his Government allies create a top job just for Ms Campion, so she was no longer his employee.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refused to address those claims.

"It's a private matter - a tough matter - and I don't have any more to say about it."

Mr Joyce is best known around the world for threatening Johnny Depp with perjury and sparking a constitutional crisis by being a citizen of New Zealand.

But at home, he's known for conservative values.

He opposed the push for same-sex marriage, and put his family front and centre of election campaigns.

While Mr Joyce is not first the politician to have an affair with his own employee, he could yet be Australia's last.  

It's sparked discussion of a strict new law to ban politicians from sleeping with staff. 



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