There is mounting pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ask Barnaby Joyce to step down following his affair with a pregnant staffer, amid rumours there’s more scandal to come.
Speaking on the Today show on Monday, Political Editor Chris Uhlmann said there was ‘growing discontent’ in the National Party, with party elders believing Mr Joyce was doing irreparable brand damage.
‘One more mistake by Barnaby Joyce would see him lose his job,’ Mr Uhlmann said.
While there were calls for Mr Turnbull to urge Mr Joyce to step down, the decision rests with the National Party.
‘There will be a frank exchange in the National Party room today,’ Mr Uhlmann said on Monday.
Appearing on The Project on Sunday night, political commentator Barrie Cassidy said Mr Joyce’s relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion had turned into a ‘toxic issue’.
‘Not the affair itself, that’s nobody’s business. But it’s the management of it, it’s been so sloppy,’ he said.
When Mr Cassidy was asked if there were any more ‘revelations’ involving the Deputy Prime Minister yet to surface, the conversation turned awkward.
Mr Cassidy said ‘there might be something’ but refused to comment saying it could not be substantiated.
‘I really don’t know enough about it to be able to talk about it on television. Seriously, this stuff has to stack up before you start reporting it,’ he said.
‘But this is not the end of it.’
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce’s career is ‘over’ according to prominent media commentator Nikki Savva.
The Canberra insider, whose husband works for the Prime Minister, told ABC Insiders the ‘sun is setting’ on the Nationals leader’s career.
Mr Joyce is expecting a child with Ms Campion after it was revealed he with his wife of 24-years, Natalie, with whom he shares four children.
‘I think his career is over, maybe not in the short term, but certainly in the medium term,’ she told the program.
‘I would not expect to see Barnaby leading the Nationals into the next election.
‘I just think the sun is setting on his career, and I can’t see how he can survive.’
The media commentator also revealed a lot more Freedom of Information requests have been lodged.
‘That would be the finish if something came out about misuse,’ she said.
Ms Savva also could not see the point of the Deputy Prime Minister’s appearance on the ABC 7.30 Program.
‘My understanding is they tried to talk him out of it, because they could not see the point of him going on to say it was a private matter,’ she said.
‘He could have got out of it a bit better I thought if he had gone on and said, ‘I really regret the pain that I have inflicted on my family, on my wife Natalie, and on my four daughters, I still really love my daughters.’
Ms Savva has been generally a strong supporter of the Turnbull Government in the media and a critic of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Mr Joyce and Ms Campion have reportedly moved into a townhouse gifted by the deputy PM’s multi-millionaire friend.
The pair will be reportedly living rent-free for six months – saving a whopping $14,000 – in the New England property owned by businessman Greg Maguire, The Australian reports.
Mr Joyce moved out of his Tamworth family home in December and later moved into the townhouse he now shares with Ms Campion.
It was also revealed Ms Campion was moved to a $191,000-a-year senior advisor position on senator Matt Canavan’s payroll after her relationship with Mr Joyce became the subject of rumour, the publication alleges.
We are not suggesting any wrongdoing on behalf of Mr Joyce, Ms Campion or Mr Maguire.
Independent MP Cathy McGowan has called for legislation to be introduced to Parliament to ban politicians entering relationships with staffers.
But Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told media it would be ‘very difficult’ to draft legislation that could cross so easily into people’s private lives.
‘Government has no business interfering in people’s personal lives, we wouldn’t want to,’ she said.
Mr Joyce’s marital breakdown became public knowledge late last year when he returned to Parliament as Deputy Prime Minister.
Natalie Joyce said she felt ‘deceived’ by the news that Ms Campion is pregnant with her husband’s fifth child and claimed the relationship began when she was a paid staffer.
‘The situation is devastating, for my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life,’ she said in a statement.
‘Our family has had to be shared during Barnaby’s political career and it was with trust that we let campaign and office staff into our home and into our lives.
Naturally we feel deceived and hurt by the actions of Barnaby and the staff member involved.’
Mr Joyce was photographed with Ms Campion at Different Drummer, a bar in inner-west Glebe, on February 23, 2017.
Photos show the pair looking happy together almost a year before Mr Joyce’s marriage break up and affair was revealed.