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Lisa Wilkinson: 14 Reasons I Was Troubled By The Joyce-Campion Trainwreck

Yes, for my sins, I parked myself and a bucket of popcorn on the couch and watched it.

(Some of it, admittedly, from between half-opened fingers.) But here are just some of the reasons the whole Barnaby/Vikki/Baby Sebastian reveal was so darn hashtag-carcrash uncomfortable to watch...

1. The tragedy at the heart of this story is a family destroyed, and I can’t imagine the added pain Barnaby has now visited upon Natalie Joyce and their four daughters by putting on such a public display, complete with (almost all of) the details about how he formed his new family at their expense.

The vision of Natalie and the girls on the by-election campaign trail last September dutifully smiling for the cameras, weeks after Barnaby discovered he had a whole other family in the making, must have been particularly galling.

Barnaby Joyce with his wife Natalie in Tamworth in 2015. Image: Getty.

2. Marriages do break up, and under normal circumstances it’s no-one’s damn business to judge the rights and wrongs of it all. Here, though, we were effectively invited to buy a ticket to the show and sit ringside to judge the whole thing for ourselves. But I still couldn’t help feeling like an intruder into other people’s business, no matter how happy they were for me to be there.

3. Vikki: “I didn’t intend to hurt anyone and I’m sorry…”

Barnaby: “Yes… but I’m the adult and the fault is mine…”.

Vikki: “I’m an adult, too!”

Barnaby: “Yeah. Well, see. But… I suppose… I just think… it’s… we should have… it’s the fault… that’s not…”.

Did anyone feel like Barnaby and Vikki hadn’t actually worked out what they were going to say before they, you know, like, um, I think, went ahead and, sort of… said it? It felt like lines of a soap-opera jumbled together, rather than cohesive dialogue.

"I didn't say use the words 'grey area'!" Image: Seven.

4. As to his blowing up the lives of so many once it was confirmed the couple was pregnant, Barnaby says, “I don’t believe in abortion.” Fine, Barnaby. Have you heard of contraception?

5. Barnaby insisted they did the story to make it “dissipate.” Oh Barnaby… this interview was to dissipation what a bucket of kerosene is to the embers of a fire. And whatever else, this whole exercise virtually guarantees it will never disappear for your son. How old will 'little Sebastian' be before one of his classmates pulls it up on YouTube and shows everyone in the playground?

6. One of the Twitterati noted before the interview, “Barnaby Joyce's partner Vikki Campion has spent so much time under a bus she has just qualified as a diesel mechanic.” And sure enough, the man who has been so consistently throwing her under that bus since this affair began was sitting right beside her. Just once I would have loved to see her grip him by the collar and get some answers as to why he so consistently did so. “So, your paternity of my child is a ‘grey area?’ Why? WHY did you say that?"

7. “To be quite honest,” Barnaby says, “I couldn’t give a shit about the political ramifications.” Really? You’re the Deputy PM, nominally devoting your life to improving the lot of the country. You lose it all, admit you stayed on so long after the news broke out of spite, and when it comes right down to it, you actually don’t, ahem, “give a shit?”

8. “I did not expect the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia to do a doorstop [regarding my affair.]” Barnaby says sternly. “That was wrong.”

Barnaby, can I just remind you for a second here how the past 12 months have played out: you’re the married family man, the Deputy PM who has run on a platform of conservative family values, vehemently arguing against marriage equality because you say you believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage, you impregnate a staffer while still married, but when the PM speaks of his disappointment, he is the one who is wrong?

“I did not expect the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia to do a doorstop." Image: Getty.

9. “The absolute scum of the earth... there’s something insidious and dark and horrible that happens inside that mad boarding school. And that’s your Australian parliament,” says Barnaby.

Can a man who says such things about some of his colleagues, and about his place of work, possibly have a future with them, at that place?

10. “Boy, you've caused some problems!” The words Barnaby says he will one day say to his son. That conversation should go down well, I’m sure… And you, Dad? Did you have something to do with those problems, perhaps?

11. “We won’t get a cent.” So the $150,000 paid by Channel Seven for all this access is allegedly going into a trust fund for Sebastian to provide for his health and education. Call me ker-razy, but isn’t that simply $150K Sebastian’s parents now won’t have to fork out of their own pocket for doctors’ appointments and presumably private school fees, down the track?

Sebastian Joyce. Image: Getty.

12. There are so many things we still don’t know. The serious political questions remain unanswered -- the timing of her promotions and transfers while having an affair with the Deputy PM that dates back to late 2016? Who knew about it? When did the PM find out about it? Why was she placed in high-paying jobs that didn’t previously exist? Why weren’t they advertised? What is the story with her travel and accomodation expenses? Why can’t we see them? None of those issues were addressed. Was that part of the deal, in them agreeing to talk to Sunday Night in the first place?

13. Vikki Campion’s father.

14. “You can’t pick your family. Families have a greater capacity to hurt you than anyone else,” Barnaby says with no hint of irony in reference to the menacing comments made by Vikki’s father. After this interview, I can’t help but wonder if that is exactly what his four daughters are thinking right now. Surely, after all they have been through, they deserve much better than this.

Feature Image: Channel Seven.