Barnaby Joyce calls for privacy laws after photographer confrontation

CLOSE TO HOME: Barnaby Joyce called for a privacy tort to protect private citizens, following a confrontation with a photographer. Photo: Peter Hardin
CLOSE TO HOME: Barnaby Joyce called for a privacy tort to protect private citizens, following a confrontation with a photographer. Photo: Peter Hardin

BARNABY Joyce has once again created headlines while on sick leave, posting videos of a confrontation he had with a photographer in Armidale on social media.

Mr Joyce was on Sydney breakfast television and used the incident to as a platform to push for more stringent privacy laws.

“These people have the capacity to destroy someone’s life,” Mr Joyce told the Seven Network on Monday.

“Private individuals, kids especially, should have greater protections than what they’ve got.

“For public people like myself, I understand that you’re a public figure and there is an expectation that you’re going to be part of the media.

“But for private individuals, I think they deserve a greater protection, so that they can live their life uninterfered and not be harassed over a long period of time, which is what I’ve seen in close circumstances with Vikki and Seb.”

Mr Joyce was strongly criticised on social media for pushing for tougher privacy laws, when just last week The Leader revealed he lobbied against a NSW bill that would protect women entering abortion clinics from harassment.

However, when asked if his stance was a double standard, he said more privacy laws would better protect women entering clinics.

“If we had a proper tort of privacy, that would protect people going up to clinics, absolutely it would be much better protection,” Mr Joyce said.

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The two videos posted by Mr Joyce show an altercation out the front of the St Mary and Joseph Catholic Cathedral in Armidale on Sunday. 

The former deputy prime minister posted the social media accounts on Sunday morning, “outing” photographer Guy Finlay, a Matrix Pictures employer, who was trying to snap a photo of him as he left church. 

Mr Joyce repeatedly asked Mr Finlay to identify himself and who he worked for, while Mr Finlay accuses Mr Joyce of sizing up to punch him, as they argue on the footpath beside Central Park.

The headlines didn’t stop there for Mr Joyce, with Fairfax Media reporting the investigation in to a sexual misconduct complaint against him had stalled.

Mr Joyce confirmed that almost four months after the complaint was levelled against him, party officials had not sought his side of the story and he had not been provided with a detailed statement of claim to which he could respond.

Mr Joyce is currently on sick leave from parliamentary duties until June 15, however his medical certificate allows him to conduct “light electorate work”.

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