Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was reportedly reluctant to remove the woman he was having an affair with from his office — until Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intervened.
The decision to move girlfriend and media adviser Vikki Campion out of Mr Joyce’s office and into a specially created role with Nationals Minister Matt Canavan came after a meeting with a representative of the PM, a source has told the ABC.
Mr Joyce has disputed this claim in a statement, insisting “he had not discussed Ms Campion’s employment with the Prime Minister or his office”.
He said Mr Canavan’s staffing decision was made on the Nationals part.
“The Prime Minister’s Office has an administrative role in informing the Department of Finance of changes,” Mr Joyce said.
The report comes a day after it emerged a second parliamentary job was created for Ms Campion after the first role was lost following Mr Canavan’s resignation.
The creation of the role in Mr Canavan’s office was authorised by Mr Turnbull, who also supported Ms Campion’s shift to National Chief Whip Damian Drum’s office.
Mr Turnbull said Friday he was “not aware” of any inappropriate expenditure of public funds.
Mr Canavan issued a statement claiming Ms Campion was “suitably qualified” for the role for which she was hired.
Mr Joyce is currently living with Ms Campion in Armidale, New South Wales, following the breakdown of his marriage of 24 years last year. The pair are expecting a baby.