BARNABY Joyce says he is taking just over two weeks of personal leave, following a “routine check up”.
The New England MP hosed down initial reports which suggested he was taking a month of leave until the end of June, which would have then rolled in to the six-week winter parliamentary break.
“The medical certificate provided allowed for a month,” Mr Joyce said via Twitter.
“Contrary to reports, I’m taking leave until June 15 following a routine check up.
“I look forward to resuming parliamentary duties. The electorate office will continue normal operations in this fortnight.”
Manager of Government business, Christopher Pyne, said Mr Joyce had a sick leave certificate provided by his medical practitioner.
“And that is why he has been given leave and any other person in a workplace who produced such a certificate would get the same kind of leave,” Mr Pyne said.
Mr Joyce took a couple of weeks holidays around Christmas and New Years, not long after he won the New England by-election on December 2.
A week after news of his affair broken, Mr Joyce took a week of personal leave – however, he still conducted several media interviews.
After the birth of his son Sebastian Mr Joyce had about a month of parental leave, during which he attended a handful of events.
The latest batch of personal leave comes in the wake of extensive criticism of Mr Joyce and his partner Vikki Campion accepting $150,000 to conduct a tell-all interview with Channel Seven, which will air this Sunday night.
Earlier this week, Mr Joyce told media outlets Ms Campion decided to accept the money because the media had profited from invading the couple’s privacy.
“Remember, there are other people in this interview, being Vikki and Seb, so if it was just an interview with me as a politician, sure, I am not going to charge for that,” he said.
“But that is not what they wanted. They wanted an interview obviously to get Vikki’s side of the story and she said…. if everybody else is making money then (I am) going to make money out of it’.”