Barnaby Joyce On 4 Weeks Leave Following Fall-Out From $150K Interview

Joyce won't return to Parliament until the first sitting week of August.

What you need to know
  • Barnaby Joyce and partner Vikki Campion were reportedly paid $150,000 for a sit-down interview with Channel 7
  • Joyce clarified that he'll be taking four weeks medical leave, and has a doctor's certificate for it
  • His Coalition colleagues have slammed the move
  • Joyce and Campion welcomed a baby boy, Sebastian, six weeks ago

Updated 1:45pm.

Barnaby Joyce has clarified on Twitter that his leave is medical, and that he will be going on four weeks leave rather than a speculated 11.

"Contrary to reports, I'm taking leave until June 15 following a routine check up," he tweeted. "The medical certificate provided allowed for a month. I look forward to resuming parliamentary duties. The electorate office will continue normal operations in this fortnight."

Earlier...

Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has taken several weeks personal leave following fallout ahead of his $150,000 paid interview with partner Vikki Campion.

The controversial couple negotiated the six-figure sum to appear on Channel 7's Sunday Night, weeks after claiming he wanted "private matters [to] remain private."

"I think most Australians are pretty disgusted by it," Finance Minister Kelly O'Dwyer told ABC Radio, with even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull telling media that he would have advised Joyce not to accept the money (which has reportedly been put into a trust fund for his new baby boy, Sebastian).

Joyce has now been granted extended personal leave, effective immediately. The Nationals MP will be on leave until the end of June, not returning to Parliament until the first sitting week of August.

Breaking his silence yesterday, Joyce claimed that he and Campion had "tried for privacy", claiming that in the last fortnight, "we've had drones over our house. We've had paparazzi waiting for us outside Armidale airport. We tried just burning this out and that didn't work."

He also managed to throw his partner under the bus (for the second time during this scandal), by claiming that it was she, not him, who accepted the money.