Awkward moment 'hurt’ Vikki slaps down Barnaby
THE most awkward moment in the car-crash Sunday Night interview with Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion came when they clashed over a confronting statement he made as the scandal over their affair emerged.
The former Deputy Prime Minister claimed in March that the paternity of his former staff member's unborn child was a "grey area", a statement that horrified Australia and was splashed across the front pages of the nation's newspapers.
In last night's Channel 7 interview, Mr Joyce attempted to exonerate himself for the comment.
"Yeah, well, it was actually a decision we made together," he said.
Clearly, they hadn't agreed on this issue ahead of the interview, with Ms Campion responding: "I didn't say use the words 'grey area'. I was deeply hurt by the 'grey area' headline."
The former Nationals leader then attempted to blame media hysteria and sleepless nights for saying "something crazy".
Viewers were unimpressed by his excuses, noting that the new parents had not reached a truce on the now-backbencher's humiliating comments from three months ago.
"Vikki called him out for the lying piece of s*** he is," wrote one Twitter user.
"She shut that down," remarked another, with others saying she looked "shocked".
One called Mr Joyce, 51, a "low life" for saying he had looked at his son Sebastian and thought to himself, "You caused a lot of problems."
Barnaby attempts to claim the paternity “grey area” line was a joint decision with Vikki. Vikki tells him on national TV he’s dreaming.— BenFordham (@BenFordham) June 3, 2018
#barnabyjoyce this just got surreal, Barnaby blaming the "grey area" of paternity on Vikki then drones, cannot believe how unprepared they both seem for this preplanned interview— Ben McClellan (@McClellan_Ben) June 3, 2018
Obviously Barnaby Joyce saying his baby’s paternity was “a grey area” was someone else’s fault. Obviously. #sundaynight— Sophie Clark (@SophBianca) June 3, 2018
I fear Barnaby’s long-term future in this relationship is a grey area #sundaynight— Gerard McCulloch (@DrJavaBeans) June 3, 2018
Some commented that they didn't see the relationship lasting after some of the more eyebrow-raising moments in the $150,000 interview. In another toe-curling moment, Mr Joyce said he had to take responsibility for his affair as "the adult" in the relationship, to which his 33-year-old partner pointed out that she was an adult, too.
It seems unlikely the tell-all interview will do much to restore the couple's reputation. They were ferociously criticised over the large payment, before saying it would go into a trust for their newborn son. Others were concerned about further embarrassment for Mr Joyce's estranged wife and four daughters.
And viewers questioned why the couple were not questioned further about whether Ms Campion was placed into a series of new, high-paying government jobs because of the relationship.
During their interview, Ms Campion said she decided to keep the baby in part because the pregnancy was a "miracle" - she had believed she couldn't conceive - and also because Mr Joyce does not agree with abortion. This didn't sit well with the public, who questioned why he didn't exercise his conservative values when it came to the sanctity of marriage.
"I'm an adult , too."— Tony Curtis 🐠☕🚘🏁 (@TonyC1963) June 3, 2018
You can't make up this stuff.
"I said there was a grey area," says Barnaby.
"That grey area reference really hurt me," says Vikki.
It writes itself ...
Doesn't believe in abortion but believes in adultery #sundaynight— Mister.Z (@MisterZ2U) June 3, 2018
If Joyce and Campion thought this interview would rehabilitate their public image - wrong. #Sundaynight— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) June 3, 2018
Was Vikki given a series of high-paying jobs she was seemingly unqualified for because of her relationship with Barnaby? How could you run on a conservative “family values” platform (particularly during SSM debate) while your affair played out? #SundayNight— Danielle Binks (@danielle_binks) June 3, 2018
After their relationship became public when the Daily Telegraph published a photo of a pregnant Ms Campion, Mr Joyce left wife Natalie and their four daughters and was forced to step down as Deputy PM.
In early March, he attacked early reporting on the affair, telling Fairfax Media he was never asked if he was the father or not, conceding that the pair were apart for most of the possible conception period.
It later emerged the Telegraph had asked whether Mr Joyce was the father before publishing the story.
He said the baby would be raised as "mine" and he would not request a paternity test but the identity of the biological father was "a bit of a grey area".
His comments sparked a furious response, including from his New England rival Tony Windsor, who called him a grub.
TV and radio personality Tim Webster told Sunrise he was struggling to understand Mr Joyce's motivation, calling it political suicide. "Just think about Vikki Campion and the obvious implication is that she was having a relationship with somebody else at the time and he was on a plane somewhere at the time of conception," Webster said.
"I don't know why he's saying this, I don't know who he's trying to help, himself? He's certainly not helping Vikki Campion.
"I just don't understand what his motivation is, if it's political it's really dumb, if it's personal and emotional well it's just a stab in the heart for Vikki Campion."
Others said he needed to take responsibility for the media circus, and called his comments hypocritical and disrespectful after his repeated appeals for privacy and for the media to leave Ms Campion alone.
Now, the world is saying exactly the same about this television interview.