Barnaby Joyce affair: Wife sought counselling from priest

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Columnist Miranda Devine reveals explosive new information in Rendezview about how Natalie Joyce found out about the deputy prime minister's affair with his former staffer Vikki Campion, and her reaction to it. The revelation prompted questions to be raised about Ms Campion appointment to jobs created especially for her in two different National Party offices.

'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'.

"In a highly conservative environment those things all spell disaster and I can't see how he can survive this".

Cabinet minister Nigel Scullion, who is leader of the Nationals in the Senate, was later asked about the definition and whether most Australians would consider Mr Joyce to be in a relationship with Ms Campion, given they are having a child.

The spokesman said the deputy prime minister was still married when Ms Campion's appointments were made.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has called on the coalition to be transparent about Ms Campion's job trajectory after the relationship with Mr Joyce became known within government circles past year.

Mr Turnbull said neither he nor his office had discussed Ms Campion's employment by Senator Canavan or Mr Drum with Mr Joyce and that "the Nationals were responsible for decisions relating to staffing. the PM's Office has an administrative role in informing the Department of Finance of changes".

The relationship between Vikki Campion, left, and Barnaby Joyce has come under intense scrutiny.

When Senator Canavan stepped down from the front bench awaiting a High Court ruling on his citizenship status, she shifted to the office of then-Nationals whip Damien Drum.

"Was this job necessary?"

Barnaby Joyce appeared on 7.30 on the ABC, earlier this week.

"It might be that there is no case to answer here, but I think the deputy prime minister and the prime minister should be prepared to answer questions about taxpayer money". Reports have suggested the job carried a salary of about $190,000 a year.

The spokesman said Turnbull was unaware of the relationship between Joyce and his former staffer.

"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".

Mr Drum's taxpayer-funded staffing allocation was reportedly boosted by one to accommodate Ms Campion.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said he had heard "comments" Mr Joyce would not be acting prime minister next week.

"All of my advice is that everything was absolutely aboveboard".

'Government has no business interfering in people's personal lives, we wouldn't want to, ' she said.

Ahead of the Nationals party meeting, the deputy prime minister's New South Wales Nationals colleague John Williams said he did not know if Joyce would lead the party to the next election.

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