Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce once asked nicely that journalists refrain from delving “unnecessarily into [his] private life”.
On Wednesday morning, his request was, unfortunately for Joyce, denied.
The 50-year-old, according to The Daily Telegraph, is in a relationship with former staffer, 33-year-old Vikki Campion, who is pregnant with Joyce’s fifth child. The leader of the National Party is yet to comment.
“I am deeply saddened… that my husband has been having an affair,” she said. “For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife… who has put my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.”
A substantial pillar of his ‘political life’ has been his vocal opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia, particularly last year during the public debate prior to the postal vote.
Joyce has always advocated for ‘traditional marriage’ – which one might assume means a heterosexual, monogamous and lifelong union.
“I don’t believe we should be redefining marriage,” he told ABC’s Insiders in 2015. “Marriage for me is in the traditional form.”
Joyce has, historically, positioned himself as a voice of authority on what marriage is and what it is not.
LISTEN: We discuss the news of Joyce’s infidelity on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
He gripped onto the Marriage Act so tightly, no matter who it hurt, even implying that our trading and diplomatic partners in Asia might view Australia as “decadent” if same-sex marriage were legalised.
“In life everybody doesn’t get everything they want, sometimes it’s a tough game,” he told the ABC at the time.
And today, Joyce certainly learned that to be true.
Because the man who so fiercely denied LGBTQI Australians the right to marriage – has, in an act of profound irony – made a complete mockery of his own.
In parliament, Joyce stood across from Penny Wong, who has been in a relationship with her partner, Sophie Allouache, for almost 13 years, and argued their union could not be legitimate in the eyes of the state.
However, despite Joyce’s insistence, it was never same-sex couples that threatened to undermine the institution of marriage. It was men like him.
I have no interest in ‘unnecessarily’ picking apart someone’s private life, as Joyce asked us not to.
I am not concerned with what Joyce likes to read, or eat for breakfast, or where he likes to travel on holidays. That’s his business.
But once a politician has built their career on – quite literally – picking apart people’s private lives, information about his marriage becomes awfully necessary.
In October 2017, journalist Jennifer Wilson referred to Joyce’s bizarre comments regarding his four daughters.
“We know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband,” he said, “and I want that to happen for them.”
Wilson wrote in response, “Joyce used his four daughters’ inalienable right to heterosexual marriage as an argument against marriage equality. This in itself makes no sense, but it does demonstrate his hypocrisy in advocating a ‘secure relationship with a loving husband’ as a woman’s ultimate ‘protection’.
“I doubt his wife or his daughters feel particularly protected by the man who has brought such unwelcome attention to their lives through his own alleged infidelity.”
Today, his infidelity is front page news, and the top trending story in the country.
So much for protecting his daughters.
Last year, Joyce was a major player in putting the ‘private’ matter of marriage to the Australian people in the most public way possible; by issuing a postal survey.
What happened within people’s relationships behind closed doors was, by Joyce’s own logic, a matter of politics.
The nation had their say on same-sex marriage.
And now, perhaps, it’s time for the nation to have its say on his.
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.