BARNABY Joyce has described a story published in the Daily Telegraph as “not the truth” and he reserved all his “legal rights” in regards to his next action.
In the same statement this morning, Mr Joyce also apologised to his wife Natalie, his girls and to his new pregnant partner, Vikki Campion.
He finished the media address without taking any questions, and later released a written statement (see both in full below).
FULL MEDIA ADDRESS
“This morning in the Telegraph and Courier Mail and referred to in other papers is a story that is not the truth. The story is not a case that I didn't recollect it, it did not happen,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is a story that has been brought about by a person unnamed, at a venue unnamed, at a time unnamed, seven years ago, and has been peddled by the bitterest of political enemies to me.”
“It's not something that I'm unaware of. They've had it on social media for years. It's just. in the past, I don't believe in dignified a response.
But today, it's in the paper and as such, I reserve all my legal rights as to what action I pursue.
On another issue, I would like to say to Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused.
“To my girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt that it has cause them, to Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.
“I world like to also say to my supporters and people in my electorate how deeply sorry I am that this personal issue - deeply personal issue - has gone into the public arena.
“I am very aware of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now.
“But when she worked in my office, she was not my partner. When she worked in Matt Canavan's office, she was not my partner. And Damian Drum was not a minister.
“I think this is vitally important in how we differentiate between the public and the private. Thank you.”
FULL WRITTEN STATEMENT
I completely reject the allegation in the Daily Telegraph this morning.
It is not the truth.
No such thing happened.
This and similar nonsense has been retailed in the past by embittered political opponents.
Given the circumstances, I have consulted senior legal advisers and reserve the right to take action for what is serious defamation.
I deeply regret the failure of my 24-year marriage, the tremendous hurt caused to Natalie and our four daughters and the unwanted public intrusion into what is an intensely private matter for all of us.
My marriage was under pressure for some time, Natalie and I tried to make it work again in April last year but it subsequently came to an end.
I take responsibility for that failure.
Vikki Campion has also been the subject of unwanted and deeply hurtful commentary at a difficult time, particularly as we are having a child together in mid-April.
In 2016 Vikki worked on the election campaign and in August came to work on my staff.
A friendship subsequently developed and that became, over time, more.
In April last year she went to work for a senior colleague, Mr Canavan.
She was well qualified for the role, was an existing and obviously capable staff member and the change was within the existing Nationals staff arrangement.
I did not discuss these matters with the Prime Minister or his office as Vikki was not my partner, so they were dealt with in the usual course of staff deployments within the Party.
When Mr Canavan stood down over the citizenship issue she went to work for another MP and subsequently left the Nationals staff following the most recent reshuffle.
This has been a searing personal experience for Natalie, our daughters and for Vikki - criticise me if you wish but please have some regard for them.
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