The Barnaby Joyce issue: public vs private lines blurred

Barnaby Joyce. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Barnaby Joyce. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

MORE than 60 per cent of people polled in his electorate believe Barnaby Joyce’s affair and pregnancy with a former staffer is relevant to his job as a politician.

The results come from an online poll conducted by The Leader, as debate rages on about the line between Mr Joyce’s private versus public life.

Tamworth resident Tim Everett said he was disappointed in the New England MP, but he was unsurprised give the amount of speculation within the community.

“Had he admitted his failures at the outset, I’d have more sympathy,” Mr Everett said. “But discussing it this late feels like a cop out.”

Emily Chapman was tired of hearing Mr Joyce’s “private life is private”.

“The man paraded his family in the public eye for positive press and he needs to be prepared to face the music when the s..t hits the fan,” she said.

“A lot of voters supported Barnaby based on his position on traditional marriage, I find it hard to believe he has any respect for that institution given his current situation.”

While the majority of the almost 3000 people who responded to the poll believe the scandal is relevant to his job, there was still support for the Deputy Prime Minister. Caitlin Howard admitted that she doesn’t like Mr Joyce, but was “not going to judge him on his personal life”.

“I really don’t think it’s anyone’s business but theirs,” she said.

Marie Millerd doesn’t condone Mr Joyce’s actions, but “his private life should be just that, private”.

“It has no relevance to his politics unless it starts to interfere [with his job],” she said.

“He is just one of many who have affairs and marriage break ups. If he wasn’t in the political arena we wouldn’t hear about it.”

Bendemeer resident Cynthia Murray said while Mr Joyce “has been a fool”, that didn’t stop him doing his job correctly.

“Until it does, I shall vote for him, unless a far better candidate comes to light for the next election.”

On Thursday, national media reported senior Nationals MPs grew concerned about Joyce’s ­erratic behaviour as he attempted to navigate his affair at the end of last year, pointing to the sudden dumping of former Transport Minister Darren Chester.