LET’S get one thing clear – the ongoing Barnaby Joyce saga is no longer about his affair with a former staffer.
It’s about everything that has come to light since the affair.
In fact, The Leader hasn’t published a story solely about the affair in more than two weeks.
People are saying they are sick of hearing about the affair, and we hear you, we’re sick of hearing about it as well. There are more important issues that have arisen, which we have rightly been reporting on.
Once again, this is not about the affair.
This is about the jobs that were created specifically for Mr Joyce’s new partner in the offices of other senior Nationals politicians.
This is about the Freedom Of Information requests (many of which have been denied), which seek to clarify the situation around travel expenses.
This is about Mr Joyce’s close relationship with a prominent New England businessman and how he came to live rent-free in an Armidale apartment.
This is about the new Ministerial Code of Conduct banning sex between ministers and staffers, which was introduced by the Prime Minister as a result of the controversy.
This is about the rift that has opened up between the Liberal and National parties, due to the ongoing media spotlight on Mr Joyce for reasons other than his affair.
This is about Mr Joyce claiming the ongoing attention was not affecting his ability to lead, then taking a week of personal leave, instead of stepping up as Acting Prime Minister.
This is about three former Deputy Prime Ministers urging Nationals MPs to quickly resolve the political crisis, which is threatening the Turnbull government.
This is about senior Nationals politician Michael McCormack dodging the same question seven times – “does Barnaby Joyce have your support?” – before finally giving a clear answer on the eighth.
This is about the Western Australian branch of the Nationals withdrawing support for the Deputy Prime Minister due to the “ongoing damage Mr Joyce is causing the Nationals organisation”.
This is about Nationals MP Andrew Broad openly stating he’ll move a resolution to replace Mr Joyce as leader at a party room meeting on Monday.
This is about the allegations of inappropriate behaviour at a Canberra pub in 2011.
This is about much more than the affair.