Barnaby: Only God Can Judge Me
Barnaby Joyce and his new partner, Vikki Campion, have made their first joint public comments since their relationship was sensationally exposed in media reports a fortnight ago.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Ms Campion told Fairfax Media they wanted to debunk a perception they were living rent-free in a "palace" of an apartment provided by a millionaire friend.
Mr Joyce described the accommodation, in which he is living rent free with Ms Campion for six months, as a "bachelor's pad".
The couple now feel, partly because of a media pack camped outside, they have to relocate somewhere more private - they said on Wednesday.
.@SharriMarkson: In August last year, @TurnbullMalcolm told Liberal MPs that @Barnaby_Joyce had assured him that his affair with Vikki Campion was over. Mr Turnbull feels misled by his Deputy PM over this.#Richo pic.twitter.com/MlVXuxaUjw— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) February 21, 2018
The National party chief said that he did not want his and Ms Campion's unborn son to grow up "as some sort of public display".
Ms Campion, reportedly uncomfortable with the limelight, refused to be photographed during the interview and made only one on-the-record comment - that her son's middle names would be in honour of her two brothers.
"Their support has meant so much. They are the only people who knew," the former journalist and media advisor said.
Mr Joyce criticised the handling of the story by Ms Campion's former employer, News Corp, which splashed her image over front pages.
He said the line of questioning about the relationship had gone from "inquiry to malice".
"The tide will turn because people will get bored of it."
"This should be a very simply story - a bloke whose marriage broke down is in a relationship with another person and they are having a child," he said.
"Now it seems to have gone into some sort of morality discussion. That's between me and my God."
His estranged wife Natalie's anger is understandable, Mr Joyce added, but he questioned whether the matter was anyone else's business.
The deputy prime minister staved off calls for his resignation over the last week, even from within his own party, but told reporters he "was not scared of democracy".
Ms Campion also debunked rumours she was paid up to $190,000 while working for National Party members.
Instead, she produced pay slips indicating she earned between $133,000 and $138,000.
Mr Joyce said he had not been directly asked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the relationship until Ms Campion's image appeared on the front page of the Daily Telegraph.
"If I think something is private and not in breach of the code, I don't think it's other people's business," he said.
The Nationals leader said he did not know if he would face a spill motion when parliament resumed next week.