Barnaby Joyce has slammed ‘totally fictitious’ allegations that his daughter had an affair with John Barilaro which forced him to resign.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he had been asked to comment on the false allegation by local media after it circulated online.
He did not specify which of his four daughters was the subject of the false allegation but his eldest daughter Bridgette – who worked for Mr Barilaro as an advisor since earlier this year – has been targeted online.
‘My daughter is a strong person and she had a completely malicious rumour… basically people saying that she had been in a relationship with John Barilaro and that’s why he left,’ Mr Joyce told ABC Radio National on Thursday.
‘Which is just total and utter rubbish.
‘When you have local media outlets actually approaching you for comment on this and you say ”what is your source” and they say ”Facebook” or ”the source is Twitter” and you say ”well it’s no good that these platforms just say ”sorry it’s too hard to control”.
‘Well it’s not too hard for you to collect your billions of dollars from it,’ Mr Joyce said in a swipe at big tech companies.
A source close to Mr Barilaro said the allegation was ‘completely wrong, absolutely false and awful for it to be suggested’.
Barnaby Joyce has slammed ‘totally fictitious’ allegations that his daughter had an affair with John Barilaro which forced him to resign. Pictured: Bridgette Joyce
Mr Barilaro is pictured with his wife Deanna and three children at home in southern NSW
Mr Barilaro resigned as NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier on Sunday, two days after ex-Premier Gladys Berejiklian quit over a corruption investigation, joking that he was having a ‘mid-life crisis’ and wanted a new career outside of politics.
The married father of three said the reason for his retirement would become clear ‘in the weeks ahead and the months ahead’.
Mr Joyce slammed Facebook for allowing the rumours and other fake news to swarm its platform.
Host Patricia Karvelas said sometimes online gossip turns out to be true, referencing rumours Mr Joyce was having an affair with his staffer Vikki Campion, with whom he now has two sons.
Mr Joyce replied saying he can cop rumours about himself because he’s a public official but draws the line when his family is dragged through the mud.
Bridgette Joyce (second left) is picture with mother Natalie and her three sisters
Nationals advisor Bridgette (third left) is pictured with her parents and sisters
After announcing his resignation, Mr Barilaro said NSW would be best served by someone who had the passion and fight to forge on.
‘I just don’t have the energy anymore,’ Mr Barilaro told reporters on Monday.
The former Nationals leader said he had been ‘thinking about this for a while’, and ruled out running for federal parliament.
‘I’m looking for a new career. I turn 50 in November, maybe a bit of a midlife crisis, but definitely thinking about what happens next. I will take some time out, but I genuinely won’t be running for federal politics,’ the Monaro MP said.
In his resignation speech, Mr Barilaro thanked his constituents for their support, describing his role as the leader of the National party as ‘the honour and privilege of a lifetime’.
He said it felt right to step down alongside Ms Berejiklian (pictured together) to give NSW a fresh start, allowing two new leaders to take the reins together as the state finally exits a grueling 15-week Covid lockdown
He said it felt right to leave parliament alongside Ms Berejiklian to give NSW a fresh start, allowing two new leaders to take the reins as the state finally exits a gruelling 15-week Covid lockdown.
‘I’m going to be a keen watcher of politics, but I will not be a participant. I have no intention of running in federal politics… I’d been thinking about this for a while,’ he said early on Monday morning.
Mr Barilaro said defamation proceedings he launched against YouTuber Jordan Shanks – aka FriendlyJordies – and Google played an enormous role in his decision to quit politics.
He accused Shanks of spouting ‘vile racism’ hidden as journalism, noting the ‘disgusting, vile, racist commentary on social media has taken a toll’.
‘As a young boy with immigrant parents, I understood what racism was from a young age,’ he said during a press conference on Monday morning.
The father-of-three is proud of his heritage and the sacrifices his parents made for him growing up, citing his late father as his ‘biggest inspiration’ for getting into politics
In one YouTube video, the entertainer referred to Mr Barilaro as a ‘big, fat, wog c**t’, ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ and ‘a conman to the core, powered by spaghetti’.
In 2020 Mr Barilaro said he wears the nickname ‘Pork Barrel-aro’ with a badge of honour. Pork Barrelling is the practice of handing out taxpayer money to win votes, usually in government-held seats.
The father-of-three said he was proud of his Italian heritage and the sacrifices his parents made for him growing up, citing his late father as his ‘biggest inspiration’ for getting into politics.
He said Ms Berejiklian’s announcement on Friday brought forward his decision to retire.
Mr Barilaro noted the immense sacrifices she gave to her state and wished the outgoing premier well in her post-politics life.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Barilaro’s office for comment.
John Barilaro’s colourful life in politics
May 2020: Private text messages sent from John Barilaro emerged calling Liberal colleague Andrew Constance a ‘c**t’.
The scandal prompted Mr Constance to withdraw from contesting the federal seat of Eden-Monaro and remain in state politics.
‘When I said politics is stuffed in this country, and some of the people in it need to have a long hard look, I meant it. I hadn’t signed up to contest federally to be called that type of smear,’ he said at the time.
September 2020: Mr Barilaro and Ms Berejiklian butt heads over a change to the Koala protection bill following the worst bushfires in NSW history.
The Koala Habitat Protection State Environment Planning Policy identified 123 trees that were needed as food or shelter for the animals.
Mr Barilaro said the policy would be taking away land from farmers.
‘If we were to support that we would become the laughing stock of regional and rural NSW,’ he said.
The two party leaders later agreed to amendments of the bill, which Mr Barilaro declared a win for the Nationals and regional NSW.
May 2021: Mr Barilaro – fed up with being called corrupt and a ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ – is suing Google and the man behind YouTube channel friendlyjordies.
Entertainer Jordan Shanks-Markovina, whose channel boasts more than 130 million views, is also accused of falsely making out the NSW Nationals leader has blackmailed councillors and pocketed millions stolen from a local government.
The MP is of Italian heritage and his hurt and harm has been aggravated by Shanks-Markovina’s ‘vile and racist attack’ in the videos.
In one video, the entertainer refers to Mr Barilaro as a ‘big, fat, wog c**t’, ‘greasy Ned Kelly’ and ‘a conman to the core, powered by spaghetti’.