Barnaby Joyce isn’t certain he’s the father of Vikki Campion’s baby.
He says, however, he’ll raise the baby as “mine”.
In an extraordinary interview with Fairfax Media, Joyce said The Daily Telegraph, which broke the news that the then Deputy Prime Minister was in a relationship with his former staffer, didn’t check if the baby was his before publishing its story under the headline “Bundle of Joyce”.
“How could they know?” the former National Party leader said. “They never even asked if it was Joyce’s bundle.”
Sharri Markson, the Daily Telegraph reporter who broke the story, last night tweeted an email sent the day before publication of the story in which she asks a top Joyce aide to confirm the identity of baby’s father.
Here's the email where, contrary to his quotes in Fairfax, I directly ask Barnaby Joyce, before publication, if the baby is his and ask him to confirm he had already told his wife and daughters. We published the story when we were satisfied he was treating the unborn as his own. pic.twitter.com/sKNBjCaqKP
— Sharri Markson (@SharriMarkson) March 3, 2018
The baby is due in April and conception was June-July last year. Joyce was in Europe on official business for 10 days from June 23 last year, accompanied by his then wife, Natalie, Fairfax reported.
When he returned from Europe, Joyce had a busy period as acting prime minister.
“Mr Joyce has told friends he and Ms Campion were not “partners” in June-July of 2017, although there was an intimate relationship forming on a ‘sporadic basis’,” Fairfax reported.
Joyce, however, considers the baby “mine, on the record”.
“And can I say, even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t care, I’d still go through this, I’d still love him,” he said.
In the week after it emerged his marriage had broken down and that Campion was pregnant and before he resigned, Joyce repeatedly insisted that the issue was a private matter. In an interview on ABC television, he used the word “private” 31 times.