SHARRI Markson has defended breaking the Barnaby Joyce story, despite admitting she “felt a bit uncomfortable” in the process.
The 34-year-old national political editor of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was the first to reveal that the former deputy prime minister was having a baby with his former media adviser Vikki Campion.
“Look there’s no question when I first saw the photograph and my editor as well — you feel a bit uncomfortable. It is an uncomfortable thing to take a photograph of a seven-month pregnant lady,” Markson told The Australian’ s Behind The Media podcast.
“But the news isn’t always comfortable. That was a news photograph, it told the story and the story was in the public interest.”
The story — and the controversy it generated — led Mr Joyce to eventually step down from his role as deputy prime minister.
Markson said she hasn’t heard from either him or Ms Campion, but is aware he’s not exactly pleased with her.
“I haven’t heard from them. I heard he’s pretty cross with me. One minister said to me he’d like to run me over — I am sure that he didn’t mean that literally.”
But ultimately, Markson defended publishing the story.
“I don’t mind a conflict situation as long as I know that what I’ve got is accurate and factual,” she said. “I’m more than happy to defend it and go into battle. It’s just my personality.”
Mr Joyce announced the birth of his baby son last week.
Sebastian Joyce was born at Armidale Hospital on Monday weighing 3.8 kilograms.
Mr Joyce had initially cast doubt about whether he could have fathered the child due to the fact that he was travelling in Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy between June 23 and July 5 — around the time of conception.
But he’s since said the birth removed any doubts about the baby being his.
He told the ABC’s National Wrap he was doing everything he could to be a good father, saying they were “just trying to be a family”.
“We are just enjoying our own company and just trying to be a family and hang around the dinner table which I really enjoy,” he said.
“I know it is peculiar circumstances … but I’m going to try the very best job I possibly can and make sure that Seb has the very best dad he can possibly get.”
He also said the culture of politics needs to change.
“Canberra is a weird place,” he said.
“It’s like a big old boarding school up on a hill in the middle of Canberra … and we should be allowing partners as much as possible to be there as well. Otherwise you have this dysfunctional dichotomy where you have one life in Canberra, another life at home … after a decade it just does not work and things fall apart. I don’t want that to happen again.”
Mr Joyce is still married but separated from his first wife, Natalie. They had four girls together: Julia, Caroline, Odette and Bridgette.