Barnaby Joyce refuses to step down and PM counts his numbers

Barnaby Joyce in the house.THE Prime Minister is so concerned with the ongoing Barnaby Joyce scandal, he has reportedly called Nationals MPs to gauge their level of support for the embattled Deputy Prime Minister.

However, Mr Joyce has told his National party colleagues he would not be standing down.

Sky News reported Malcolm Turnbull was hitting the phones just before 7am, asking National party politicians if Mr Joyce could survive as leader of the Nationals.

While Mr Turnbull cannot tell the Nationals MPs what to do, nor can he remove Mr Joyce from his position, it is nonetheless significant.

Barnaby tells colleagues he’s not quitting, PM checks party support Barnaby Joyce during Question Time on Monday. Photo: FILE.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Vikki Campion’s career. “She’s clearly somebody who is qualified to do the job and she was hired in certain positions based on merit and there’s nothing really further to add,” he told told Sky News. “All of my advice is that everything was absolutely above board.”

Transport Minister Darren Chester on Mr Joyce’s personal life. “My view is private lives and personal matters should remain private. I wish them all well, particularly the baby on the way,” he said.

MP Michael McCormack on Mr Joyce’s private life. “This ricochets on families. There’s a principal here I’ve always abided by to not engage on anything that hits the private lives of people in parliament and I’m not about to start as now,” he said.

Queensland LNP MP George Christensen.”I support Barnaby 100 per cent as a leader, personal lives are personal lives, I support policy, which has nothing to do with personal lives,” he said.

Anthony Albanese, Labor Party. “The Labor Party has not made comment about Barnaby Joyce’s personal life for the last six months despite the fact it has been well known in this building. I have plenty of criticisms of Barnaby Joyce, I think he is a very poor Deputy Prime Minister but my criticisms of him are of his job, his personal matters are none of my business. I am very critical of his performance as deputy prime minister.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison, LNP. “In terms of Barnaby’s own private conduct it’s not for me to defend him on that,” The Treasurer told The Daily Telegraph. “People know my views on these things, but I’m also very aware of human frailty.”

Nigel Scullion, Liberal Party. He insists he did not know Joyce and Campion were in a relationship.”I have no interest in those matters,” he told Sky News.He added there is no evidence that Joyce has done anything wrong.

Nationals Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams”His private life’s his private life and hopefully he hasn’t breached any regulations when it comes to travel allowances or the spending of the public purse,” he said, expressing confidence his leader had done the right thing.”That’s the situation and let’s see how it pans out.”

Kevin Rudd, Former Labor Prime Minister. “My view of all that is that this is a really tragic set of personal and family circumstances,” he said. Mr Rudd said he would not contribute to the debate surrounding the scandal.

Labor MP and Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers.“I think it is time for Malcolm Turnbull to give a proper statement about what’s happened there,” he said. “I don’t know, you don’t know, the ins-and-outs of what arrangements have been struck. It’s for the Prime Minister to stand up as soon as possible and explain that to the n people.”

Liberal MP Julie Bishop on Vikki Campion’s career. “I understand that’s she’s a very well qualified journalist…She would be sought after in (MPs) offices given that background,” she said.

Leader of the Labor Party, Bill Shorten.“I think it would be wise of Mr Turnbull to reassure the n public that nothing untoward has occurred here,” he said.“Barnaby Joyce’s private life is his business.”

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke“It’s something I view as none of my business,” he said.“This ricochets and affects families. There’s a principle here that I’ve always abided by to not engage in anything that hits the private lives of other members of parliament.”

TweetFacebookRELATED ARTICLESBarnaby Joyceapologises to family and ‘reserves legal rights’Politicians react to Barnaby’s baby newsGuilty plea over bullet sent to Barnaby JoyceNo talk on Joyce’s partner’s jobs: TurnbullToday, Mr Joyce confronted the issue head on in a party room meeting, telling his colleagues he would not quit.

“Everyone in politics goes through a time of trial,” Mr Joyce said.”This is mine, but I’ll emerge from it.”

The Prime Minister has publicly backed Mr Joyce over the course of the scandal.

Earlier today, Mr Joyce released a statement which threatened legal action over a story in the national media, regarding his alleged behaviour following an awards night.

“I completely reject the allegation in the Daily Telegraph this morning,” he said.

“It is not the truth. No such thing happened. This and similar nonsense has been retailed in the past by embittered political opponents.

“Given the circumstances, I have consulted senior legal advisers and reserve the right to take action for what is serious defamation.”

Mr Joyce also publicly apologised to his wife, daughters and his new partner Vikki Campion.

“I deeply regret the failure of my 24-year marriage, the tremendous hurt caused to Natalie and our four daughters and the unwanted public intrusion into what is an intensely private matter for all of us,” Mr Joyce said.

“My marriage was under pressure for some time, Natalie and I tried to make it work again in April last year but it subsequently came to an end.

“I take responsibility for that failure.

“Vikki Campion has also been the subject of unwanted and deeply hurtful commentary at a difficult time, particularly as we are having a child together in mid-April.”

Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion moments after he won the 2016 New England election. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Mr Joyce also claimed Ms Campion wasn’t his partner when she was moved to Senator Matt Canavan’s office for a reported six-figure salary in April 2017, denying an allegation of breaching the ministerial code of conduct, which says all applications for partners working in the same office must be cleared by the Prime Minister.

She was well qualified for the role, was an existing and obviously capable staff member and the change was within the existing Nationals staff arrangement,” Mr Joyce said.

“I did not discuss these matters with the Prime Minister or his office as Vikki was not my partner, so they were dealt with in the usual course of staff deployments within the Party.

“When Mr Canavan stood down over the citizenship issue she went to work for another MP and subsequently left the Nationals staff following the most recent reshuffle.”

Northern Daily Leader