Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce charged taxpayers $780 to join his estranged wife Natalie and daughters on a summer holiday as his 24-year marriage was falling apart.
The former Nationals leader spent time with the mother of his four daughters on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, as he was seeing his media adviser Vikki Campion on the side.
In January last year, he was recalled from his family holiday to attend an urgent meeting in Canberra and flew on a chartered flight from his beach vacation.
A spokesman for Mr Joyce said he voluntarily repaid the $780 he had claimed from taxpayers to return to the Sunshine Coast by hire car after attending to his ministerial duties.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has been reprimanded for charging taxpayers $780 to join his estranged wife Natalie on a summer holiday as his marriage was falling apart
The former Nationals leader spent some time with the mother of his four daughters on the Queensland Sunshine Coast as he was seeing his media adviser Vikki Campion on the side
After attending to his cabinet commitments, he drove from Canberra to Tamworth, in the heart of his New England electorate in northern New South Wales.
From there, he continued driving his taxpayer-funded hire car across the state border back to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, at a cost to taxpayers of $779.54.
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority criticised Mr Joyce for hiring a car from January 6 to 9, 2017, saying it ‘appeared inconsistent in the context of the circumstances’.
In a report released today, the body charged with overseeing the entitlements of politicians revealed Mr Joyce voluntarily repaid the cost of hiring the car in April last year.
His spokesman told Daily Mail Australia he had repaid the $780 he had billed taxpayers because he ‘had always intended to pay for the additional private use of the hire vehicle beyond Tamworth’.
He added the holiday with was his then wife and children.
A month after that Sunshine Coast holiday, Daily Mail Australia revealed Mr Joyce and his former media adviser Ms Campion were spotted drinking at a Glebe bar in Sydney
The former deputy PM told the Department of Finance in February 2017 (when this image was taken) he would reimburse taxpayers the cost of driving from his home base in Tamworth to Maroochydore
The former deputy prime minister informed the Department of Finance in February 2017 he would reimburse taxpayers the cost of driving from his home base in Tamworth to his holiday spot near Maroochydore.
The department had concluded he was ‘only entitled’ to return to his home town but not to where he was having a holiday.
The expenses authority had approved of Mr Joyce driving from Canberra to Cowra, in western New South Wales, in January 2017 in his former role as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure.
The Independent Parliamentary Authority looked into Mr Joyce’s expenses from May 2016, when Ms Campion joined his campaign as an adviser, to February 2018, when she officially became his girlfriend.
It found his overall spending ‘met the required legislative thresholds’ for parliamentary business.
Barnaby Joyce was seeing Vikki Campion on the side in 2017 as he tried to save his marriage
The former deputy prime minister’s attempts to revive his marriage failed, with his sexual liaison with Vikki Campion producing a baby boy Sebastian in April this year
27 May 2016 – Gold Coast/Tamworth: $11,000 – VIP flight
17 June 2016 – Glen Innes/Lismore: $1,334 – VIP flight
17 June 2016 – Lismore/Inverell: $1,334 – VIP flight
25 August 2016 – Melbourne/Sydney: $1,135; Comcars: $346
5 October 2016 – Orange/Narrandera: $562 – VIP flight
5 October 2016 – Narrandera/Deniliquin: $351 – VIP flight
27 October 2016 – Tamworth/Rockhampton: $5,520 – VIP flight
27 October 2016 – Rockhampton/Orange: $8,280 – VIP flight
14 November 2016 – Brisbane/East Sale: $8,740 – VIP flight
14 November 2016 – East Sale/Melbourne: $2,300 – VIP flight
23 February 2017 – Tamworth/Sydney: $356 flight; two night travel allowance: $442; Comcars: $73
25 February 2017 – Sydney/Tamworth: $356 flight; Comcar: $79
Sources: Department of Finance, Defence
A month after that Sunshine Coast holiday, Daily Mail Australia revealed Mr Joyce and his former media adviser Ms Campion were spotted drinking at a Glebe bar in Sydney’s inner-west.
In April 2017, Natalie Joyce confronted Campion in Tamworth and called her a ‘home-wrecking w***e’.
Campion then moved to the office of Resources Minister Matt Canavan, another Nationals politician, to work as an adviser.
Two months later, Mr Joyce appeared with Natalie at the Mid-Winter Ball in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, only for her estranged husband to make love to his mistress a few weeks later.
This sexual encounter led to the birth of Sebastian in April this year.
In December 2017 and January 2018, Barnaby Joyce and his pregnant girlfriend Vikki Campion went on a 2,000 kilometre summer road trip taking in scenic beaches in New South Wales and tropical Queensland.
Campion continued to travel with him even though she left his office in April 2017.
Their 11-day road trip included a stop over at Palm Cove, near Cairns in tropical far north Queensland, where the couple were spotted in a car park near the beach late last year.
Their summer travels took them 2,000 kilometres from Wooli beach, near Grafton in northern NSW, to north Queensland, including a stop in Townsville.
Ms Campion, a 34-year-old former journalist with The Daily Telegraph, joined Mr Joyce as a media adviser in May 2016 and continued as a paid staffer with him until April 2017.
During that time, they ran up taxpayer travel bills of $42,208 as they travelled together for work.
HOW THE BARNABY JOYCE AFFAIR UNFOLDED
May – Vikki Campion assists Barnaby Joyce’s election campaign as media adviser, having previously worked with NSW government ministers and News Corp
August – Campion joins Joyce’s staff. She splits with fiance John Bergin, three months before they were due to wed. Friendship develops between Joyce and Campion
December – Chief of staff Di Hallam reportedly seeks Joyce’s approval to have Campion transferred out of office. Hallam later quits to take up departmental role
February – Campion is photographed in a Sydney bar with Joyce, as revealed by Daily Mail Australia
April – Barnaby’s wife Natalie reportedly confronts Campion in Tamworth. Campion goes to minister Matt Canavan office as adviser. Natalie and Barnaby seek to make marriage work
May – At New South Wales Nationals conference in Broken Hill colleagues describe Joyce as ‘a mess’
June – Natalie and Barnaby show up together at Canberra press gallery midwinter ball
July – Campion leaves her $191,000 job in Mr Canavan’s office after he quits frontbench over citizenship. She temporarily goes back to Joyce’s office
August – Campion moves to Damian Drum’s office in a social media adviser position specially created for her. He already has a media adviser. In this time she oversees just 50 posts to Facebook
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is reportedly reassured by Joyce the relationship with Campion is over. Drum says he was told the same thing. Former Joyce chief of staff Di Hallam takes up a senior position with the Inland Rail project
September – Natalie reportedly asks family friend, Catholic priest Father Frank Brennan, to counsel Joyce. Campion is seen managing Joyce media events at federal Nationals conference in Canberra
October – Campion reportedly takes stress leave. Writ issued for New England by-election after Joyce quits over dual citizenship
November – Natalie holidays in Bali with a daughter. Man in a pub in Inverell angers Joyce during election campaign by reportedly saying: ‘Say hello to your mistress’
December – Joyce wins by-election. Joyce tells parliament during same-sex marriage debate he is separated. Campion’s redundancy package is approved. They move into an Armidale property provided rent-free by businessman Greg Maguire
January – Joyce and Campion holiday in north Queensland and NSW north coast
February – Joyce tells reporters Campion is now his partner. But denies she was his partner when she worked in Canavan’s office
March – Joyce casts doubt on the baby’s paternity, calling it a ‘grey area’ and claiming journalists never asked him if Ms Campion’s child was his
April 16 – Sebastian Joyce born
May 8 – Baby boy seen for the first time
May 26 – Details emerge of Barnaby Joyce’s paid $150,000 interview
May 30 – Seven Network reveals Vikki Campion pressured to have abortion
June 5 – Joyce announces he intends to re-contest the seat of New England at the next election
June 21 – Natalie Joyce speaks out in a tell-all unpaid interview
Source: AAP from media reports and official statements