Some of us tuned in to the Sunday Night interview with Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion purely for details on their private life. But those who wanted real answers to questions about misconduct were left disappointed and frustrated.
Not once, many viewers have pointed out, was Joyce asked about reports that murky decisions were made during their affair, potentially resulting in misuse of taxpayer money.
The real scandal of @Barnaby_Joyce was never the affair. The problem was always shuffling VC between @The_Nationals party offices which neither needed her nor wanted her. This was a scandalous use of public money & not one question was asked about it @sundaynighton7 @alextcullen
— Graham Richardson (@SkyNewsRicho) June 3, 2018
Were the jobs Vikki was given created for her?
As journalist Paul Bongiorno pointed out, the 33-year-old was shifted into a new role with Resources Minister Matt Canavan, reportedly when federal government staff learned Barnaby and his media advisor were in a relationship. It is believed to have paid $190,000 a year. When the minister stood aside during the dual-citizenship saga, Vikki was moved to the office of then-chief Nationals whip Damian Drum. Some have suggested that these roles were created for Vikki.
Others have pointed out that a section of the code that says the Prime Minister needs to approve appointments of “relatives or partners” of PMs in other minister’s offices should have applied to this situation despite Vikki not technically being Barnaby’s “partner”.
So far on Sunday Night..with less than 5 Minutes to go, absolutely no political accountability. No explanation of the sweetheart deals shunting Vikki around offices with the PM or at least the PMO’s sign off. All at taxpayers’ expense.
— Paul Bongiorno (@PaulBongiorno) June 3, 2018
Why did Barnaby not say more during the by-election in November?
During the interview, Barnaby said that “as soon as Vikki was having Seb, I knew the day would come where I’d have to step down as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia”.
“That was absolutely certain.”
So why then did he fight so hard to win the November by-election without disclosing that he would be, at some stage soon, stepping down as Nationals leader?
Who paid for Barnaby’s 11-day trip along the coast?
Late last year, Barnaby took a trip along the east coast of Australia, which Vikki accompanied him on, despite no longer being his staffer. So far the Nationals member hasn’t disclosed whether he paid for the trip entirely out his own pocket or some or all was subsidised by the government.
An investigation into the pair’s travel by the independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority is ongoing. However, on Sunday Barnaby and Vikki did nothing to clear up confusion over whether taxpayer funds were misappropriated.
also didn’t notice any questions about the circumstances around Vikki being moved between offices of different Nats MPs. Basically the three biggest political/public interest questions were ignored. If they wanted this interview to clear the air, they messed up https://t.co/EONE8mNyih
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) June 3, 2018
When exactly did the affair begin?
There was a lot of discussion about how the professional relationship gradually became a romantic one, but what date or month it started was never disclosed. It’s something that those who want to scrutinise decisions Barnaby made at the time – to deem if they could be considered misconduct – want to know.
We don’t know why these questions were unasked. Perhaps the couple made it a condition of their appearance on the show or perhaps Channel Seven deemed these types of questions not to be in the interest of their viewers.
Whatever the reason, their absence was noticed.