Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has denied he broke the ministerial code of conduct as Vikki Campion was not his “partner” while she was employed by the government.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, Joyce said while Campion was “now” his partner, she was not when she was working in his office, nor was she when she was moved to the offices of Matt Canavan and Damien Drum.
Watch Barnaby Joyce’s statement to the media on Tuesday morning.
“I am very aware of the ministerial code of conduct, it is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki is my partner now. When she worked in my office she was not my partner, when she worked in Matt’s office she was not my partner and Damien Drum was not a minister. I think this is vitally important in how we differentiate between the public and the private,” Mr Joyce said in a statement.
He also took the opportunity to deny a report published in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph alleging that in 2011 the then-Queensland Senator pinched a woman’s bottom after the Rural Women’s Agricultural Awards in Canberra.
The unidentified woman told the Daily Telegraph: “I went over to the bar and he was very, very drunk and nearly falling over.
“I said, ‘Barnaby, I think you should go home. You’re very drunk.’ He leant over and he pinched my bottom.”