toggle menu
Live: 4TOFM 102.3 Townsville
 
Listen live

Barnaby Joyce On Leave After Backlash From Paid TV Interview

It will air on Sunday

Barnaby Joyce On Leave After Backlash From Paid TV Interview

Barnaby Joyce has taken extended personal leave after deciding to drag his personal life back into the spotlight, with Nationals colleagues urging the public and media to leave him alone.

The former deputy prime minister has been granted leave until the end of June, but won't be back at parliament until mid-August, after the winter break.

"Leave of this nature is routinely approved," Nationals whip Michelle Landry said after signing off on his request.

Mr Joyce's sudden departure comes six weeks after he and staffer-turned-partner Vikki Campion welcomed a baby boy.

The backbencher and his ex-media advisor have been widely criticised after deciding to pocket $150,000 for a television tell-all about their affair.

"Obviously he's been under a fair bit of stress in the last six or 12 months, and he's taking some time with his family, so I can understand that," Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester said.

"I think Barnaby can come back stronger than ever, but I think it's appropriate [he takes leave] and I respect him for taking a break now."

Nationals backbencher Andrew Broad said Mr Joyce had been through "a pretty harrowing time".

"If he needs some leave, give him some leave, leave him alone, and hopefully he'll come back and contribute to the direction of the country in his time," he said.

Cabinet minister Josh Frydenberg is confident Mr Joyce has made the right decision.

"This is difficult, it's very personal, and it's not for others to judge," Mr Frydenberg said.

Labor has granted Mr Joyce a pair while he is off work.

Mr Joyce blamed Ms Campion for accepting payment for the Channel Seven interview, arguing it would not have been necessary if Australia had stronger privacy laws.

"In the last fortnight we've had drones over our house, we've had paparazzi waiting for us outside Armidale airport, we've had people following us to Uralla," Mr Joyce said on Tuesday.

"We tried just burning this out and that didn't work."

The paid interview will be broadcast on Sunday night.

"You can't help who you fall in love with," Ms Campion said in a promotional clip for the Sunday Night program.

Cabinet minister Kelly O'Dwyer believes most Australians are "pretty disgusted" by the interview.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the interview was "certainly not" something he would have encouraged.

Mr Joyce was bumped to the backbench after his relationship with Ms Campion became public in February.

Their son Sebastian was born on April 16.

He has split from his wife Natalie, the mother of his four daughters.

;