It’s been a tumultuous week for deputy prime minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce.
Last Tuesday the Daily Telegraph published photos of a heavily pregnant woman in Canberra who was later confirmed as Barnaby Joyce’s ex-staffer and current lover, Vikki Campion. Ms Campion is pregnant with their child. Believed to be due mid-April.
Mr Joyce’s ex-wife Natalie Joyce spoke out about the politician confirming the affair with Ms Campion and the expecting baby.
Since then Mr Joyce has answered questions about Ms Campion’s career and movements throughout the National Party along with expenditure.
There is increasing speculation that the Deputy Prime Minister will not be taking on the Acting Prime Minister position next week when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull heads overseas.
Rumours are circulating in Parliament that National MPs will approach their leader to talk to him about growing concerns.
Locally the rumour-mill is running wild on who would replace Mr Joyce should he stand down from office in its entirety.
What’s been happening?
Pressure for the Deputy Prime Minister to stand down is increasing, from the general public who are questioning his integrity to members of the National Party who are questioning how he will recover from continued political and personal blows.
Australian Celebrity Reporter Lisa Wilkinson tweeted this on Wednesday Morning.
On Tuesday it was revealed Mr Joyce claimed a travel allowance for 50 nights in Canberra when parliament was not sitting. Official expense records show the Deputy Prime Minister charged taxpayers to spend 50 nights in Canberra when Parliament was not sitting last year. The most of any cabinet minister.
Also on Tuesday Mr Joyce spoke to the media for only the second time since the scandal has been unveiled. To read his full statement click here.
“On another issue, I would like to say to Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused.
“To my girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt that it has cause them, to Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.
“I world like to also say to my supporters and people in my electorate how deeply sorry I am that this personal issue - deeply personal issue - has gone into the public arena.”
“I am very aware of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now.
“But when she worked in my office, she was not my partner. When she worked in Matt Canavan's office, she was not my partner. And Damian Drum was not a minister.
“I think this is vitally important in how we differentiate between the public and the private. Thank you.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to comment on Ms Campion’s jobs in the National Party. He has repeatedly stated the Nationals organise their own staffing.
"My understanding is that Barnaby or Vikki Campion have absolutely nothing to answer for, although they appear to be paying the penalty pretty heavily no matter whether they've done anything or not."Malcolm Turnbull
In the meantime…
A man who sent Mr Joyce a bullet in the mail during the by-election campaign plead guilty in court on Monday.
Neville Newman entered the plea in Armidale Local Court on Monday after he was charged with one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend and one count of stalking or intimidation.
The bullet was sent in an envelope which was opened by a staff member in Mr Joyce's Tamworth electorate office in early November last year, NSW police have previously said.