By Jeremy Sollars
Local reaction from LNP stalwarts to the news Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is expecting a child with his new partner has been somewhat muted.
National media is today reporting that Mr Joyce – who separated from his wife Natalie last October – and former staffer Vikki Campion are expecting a child around April, and that the couple are living together.
Concerns have been raised in Nationals circles in Mr Joyce’s New England electorate that the development could affect local support for Mr Joyce and cause the party’s local membership numbers to drop, despite the Deputy PM’s convincing by-election win last December.
New England Nationals chair Russell Webb has declined to comment to media in the area, while local Warwick LNP branch chair Dawn Scrymgeour declined to comment to the Free Times.
Deputy chair Andrew Gale said “in light of the personal nature of the matter I have no comment”.
Barnaby Joyce and his estranged wife Natalie have been married for 24 years and have four daughters.
Some have pointed to what they say is the hypocritical nature of Mr Joyce’s situation, given his past support for ‘traditional’ marriage.
Natalie Joyce said in a statement to national media today that she was “deeply saddened by the news that my husband has been having an affair and is now having a child with a former staff member”.
“I understand that this affair has been going on for many months and started when she was a paid employee,” Mrs Joyce said.
“This situation is devastating on many fronts.
“For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years, who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.
“Our family life has had to be shared during Barnaby’s political career and it was with trust that we let campaign and office staff into our homes and into our lives.
“Naturally we also feel deceived and hurt by the actions of Barnaby and the staff member involved.
“The situation for myself and the girls will be made worse by the fact that this will all be played out in public so at this time, I would ask that the girls and I are given some privacy and time to come to terms with the consequences and take steps to plan our future.”