EXCLUSIVE: Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has refused to comment on growing rumours that he may be intimately involved in the Barnaby Joyce baby scandal after the former Deputy PM publicly claimed there was a “grey area” concerning the paternity of the unborn child being carried by his new partner, and former media adviser, Vikki Campion. It comes as more information has been revealed to True Crime News Weekly suggesting Mr Joyce’s so-called belief in ‘family values’ has been a long-running public con.
Speculation as to who may be the father of Ms Campion’s unborn child has been growing ever since Mr Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend that he was unsure if he was biologically related to the expected baby boy, with paternity seemingly a “bit of a grey area”.
Interestingly, Mr Joyce has previously campaigned against marriage rights being extended to same-sex couples on the grounds that children should have a chance to know their biological parents.
“I think that every child has a right, absolute right to know her or his mother and father and also … should be given the greatest opportunity to know their biological mother and father,” Mr Joyce told the ABC TV program Insiders in 2015.
Ms Campion’s baby is due in April. Mr Joyce has ruled out taking a paternity test though for reasons best known to him.
According to the Fairfax article over the weekend, Mr Joyce suggested that he may not be the father as he was physically away from Ms Campion during the possible period for conception. The 50-year-old says he was overseas in Europe in late June to early July last year leading a ministerial and trade delegation.
At about the same time, his 33-year-old partner was apparently working in a highly paid media position within the office of Nationals Senator Matt Canavan – a job which Ms Campion had landed after Mr Joyce allegedly wielded his weight within the Nationals Party to make sure his girlfriend was close by and taken care of.
The job consisted of making on average less than one Facebook post a day, despite the former journalist being hired as a “social media adviser”. Ms Campion was then moved out of Mr Canavan’s office when the close political ally of Mr Joyce was judged to be as Italian as his mother in late July last year and he was forced to resign from Cabinet and his position as Resources Minister. Mr Canavan is a former chief of staff to Mr Joyce.
Ms Campion was transferred to the office of Nationals whip Damien Drum – even though he already had a media adviser – but just two months into her social media role there for which she was earning way above $100,000, she decided to take stress leave.
This was in October last year, roughly around the time when the High Court ruled that Mr Joyce was as Kiwi as a pavlova – a decision which forced him to resign from Parliament and put himself up for a by-election. The same High Court ruling saw Mr Canavan allowed to re-enter Parliament after it was discovered he really was less Mario and more Matt, as he actually never was an Italian citizen despite some forms being processed.
The speculation over the baby’s paternity has reached such a level that even Ms Campion’s former fiancee, John Bergin, has had to publicly come out this week to state that there is no physical way that he could be the father of the child.
“I haven’t seen Vikki since late 2016, any suggestion that I am the father of Vikki’s child is incorrect,” Mr Bergin told the Daily Telegraph.
“I’m sure you can appreciate that I don’t have anything further to add.”
The couple are thought to have broken up by August 2016 after Ms Campion called off their wedding which was due to be held in Bowral towards the end of that year.
A day after the Sydney Morning Herald article appeared with the “grey area” comments, Mr Joyce on Sunday, March 4 released a statement saying he felt he had “no choice” in going public.
“This issue has continued to be pursued by media despite my resignation … media had also made requests around the issue which was printed today. Therefore we felt we had no choice but to tell the story,” Mr Joyce said in the statement.
“Despite a flood of other allegations by media and political types being used as a proxy for being together, none of those allegations has been proven true.”
However, just the very next day when faced by reporters and television cameras at a media conference, Mr Joyce quickly and angrily hosed down attempts to gain further insight into what may have motivated him to publicly discuss his partner’s sex life, instead reverting back to his favourite coward’s line of the “business” being “personal”.
“Anything that’s a personal nature is nobody else’s business but mine and Vikki’s,” Mr Joyce told reporters at a Tamworth media conference.
“We’re not here to be part of some on-going litany of discussion.
“It’s no-one else’s business. It’s personal and that’s the last question I’m going to answer.”
Now, in a development that would even likely shock the scriptwriters of the Bold and the Beautiful, there is growing chatter that Ms Campion’s former employer – the Resources Minister, Matt Canavan – may himself have intimate knowledge about the pregnancy. Rumours doing the rounds across social media suggest the Nationals senator has been acting strange as he too has been highly caught up in the baby scandal.
It must be said that True Crime News Weekly has heard all sorts of rumours about the matters in recent days as well as over the past few months. At the same time, we have also been contacted by a number of parties wondering why Mr Joyce would publicly reveal that he may not be the father of his partner’s baby, thereby insinuating Ms Campion was perhaps ‘sleeping around’ with others.
In a bid to put some of the rumours to bed we contacted the office of Mr Canavan this week.
We sent a series of questions by email after first explaining that we had been “contacted by people within the Nationals, Labor, Liberals and others … regarding growing rumours about your Nationals colleague Barnaby Joyce”.
We then asked Mr Canavan the following questions:
Would you be able to shed any further light on the matter?
Do you think another Nationals politician could be involved?
Mr Joyce seems to be suggesting Ms Campion was not working for him at the time. Was she working for you at the time?
Mr Canavan simply did not respond when given the opportunity to do so, and nor did any member of his office speak up or get in contact on his behalf.
The revelations concerning the parentage of the child and Mr Canavan’s stony silence comes as further information has been leaked to True Crime News Weekly suggesting that Mr Joyce’s long-held “family values” have been nothing but a long-term and ongoing sham played upon a gullible Australian public and voters across New England.
One retired high-level public official has confirmed to True Crime News Weekly that Ms Campion is not the first media adviser whom the politician has got himself tangled with.
The source has said Mr Joyce’s cheating ways were well known around Parliament House, stretching back to his early days in politics as a Nationals senator representing Queensland in the mid-2000s. It’s also been claimed that the tag of “homewrecker” may be very apt for Mr Joyce.
“You didn’t hear this from me but you need to try to speak with [NAME REDACTED], a former ABC journalist who worked with Beetrooter, or her ex-husband,” the former bureaucrat said.
“She had an affair with him, ultimately breaking up her marriage. The Gallery remembers all this — from around 2006-07 from memory.
“Her ex was a News Limited Press Gallery photographer. He still lives in Canberra I think. He was a very good snapper. But I believe he may have taken a package from News Limited.”
One of Mr Joyce’s former media advisers has as well come forward to True Crime News Weekly with information suggesting his staff have long had to cover up for his many affairs.
“Joyce blames his constant travel for the break-up of his marriage. Look at his travel over the years. He’s never spent much time at home. He tries to raise it in interviews to get the sympathy card. You don’t need to try to match his travel with staff,” the former media adviser said.
“He’s had plenty of flings with people who were not on staff. I know of three. None will talk. Excessive travel is a good yarn.”
As reported by the media in March last year, Mr Joyce’s wife and daughters admitted they had “not been able to spend time together since 2004 – the year [he] got elected”.
According to the Daily Mail: “Joyce described the guilt he felt for not being there for his family – a fact reflected in only spending 22 nights in his own bed the first year he was elected as senator and 45 in the second”.
A Nationals insider meanwhile has informed True Crime News Weekly that Mr Joyce was well known for having different women in different towns, much like a 1950s hillbilly rock’n’roller.
“He even had a ‘New England girl’ for a long time,” the source said. “You can call her and ask for yourself if you want.” True Crime News Weekly has been provided with the woman’s name.
A source who can be described as a “long standing public servant” has come forward to inform True Crime News Weekly that Mr Joyce has long been rumoured to be having dalliances with other married politicians.
“It was common knowledge within our ranks only a couple of years ago that Barnaby Joyce while Agriculture Minister was having an affair with a state primary industries minister,” the source revealed.
“It’s unclear if this had anything to do with her quick resignation from politics.”
There’s also the small matter of the official complaint of sexual misconduct made against Mr Joyce following an incident outside a beef industry event at Canberra’s Kurrajong Hotel in 2016. The complainant, Catherine Marriott, had her name leaked to the media by elements of the LNP Government still friendly with Mr Joyce. Ms Marriott is a former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year and is highly respected across the agriculture sector. True Crime News Weekly has also previously reported on claims that Mr Joyce sexually harassed young women and teenage girls at the Rural Women Awards in 2011 and 2012. While Mr Joyce has consistently refused to comment on claims that a previous sexual affair with another media adviser in 2014 ended with that junior staffer undergoing an abortion.
The information about Mr Joyce’s philandering ways matches up with statements already on the public record. Even Natalie Joyce, Barnaby’s former wife of 24 years, has admitted the tough-talking, conservative politician was known for straying from the family home. As it was reported by Miranda Devine in the Daily Telegraph on February 11:
“Barnaby hasn’t been an easy dog to keep on the porch, as Hillary Clinton once put it, but Natalie has persevered, understanding that highs and lows are part of his personality.
“He always comes back”, she’s told friends.
Attached to all of this – what some may refer to as salacious scuttlebutt – are questions that go straight to the heart of Mr Joyce’s integrity. For there are other issues with the stench of corruption which continue to pile around.
There’s his land at Gwabegar, clouded by his links to the Inland Rail scheme and buddies at Santos who are eager for some more coal and gas. According to parliament’s registry of interests, Mr Joyce has written down that his properties at Gwabegar are used for farming purposes. True Crime News Weekly has however been informed that the land is largely arid and at best has a couple of mountain goats dwelling there. More frightening perhaps are reports that “a man with a shotgun” guards the land from anyone who comes looking too close and asking too many questions.
Then, there are also Mr Joyce’s links to certain families with cotton growing interests as well as his role in wrecking the Murray-Darling basin.
“The financial support of those families for Barnaby and the resultant sudden supply of water when their farms were going under is an interesting mix,” one source said.
Farmers are also now calling for a Royal Commission to be held into allegations of corruption and cronyism that have plagued the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minster, pastoralist Robert McBride from Tolarno Station in NSW’s west, accuses the Federal Government, NSW Government and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority of all turning a blind eye to water theft and other serious misconduct.
“It appears that senior management of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority allowed water theft to flourish under their protection,” Mr McBride writes.
“I again implore you as Prime Minister to establish a Federal Royal Commission to comprehensively investigate all matters of water theft, mismanagement, misconduct, and corruption relating to the Murray-Darling Basin, and particularly to the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”
In July last year, Mr Joyce, who was Deputy PM at the time, accused the ABC’s Four Corners program of taking part in a campaign to take more water away from irrigators, which would shut down towns. The outburst came on the back of an an-depth investigation by the ABC into accusations of water theft plaguing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
At the time, Mr Joyce also said the Federal Government would not investigate any of the matters raised by the news program.
But perhaps a comprehensive investigation into Mr Joyce’s dealings is now well overdue. Without a federal anti-corruption body in place though means whether justice will ever be served remains a tantalising question.