Karl Stefanovic has blasted Malcolm Turnbull after he publicly shamed Barnaby Joyce for his affair with his former media adviser.
The Prime Minister formally addressed the public breakdown of Mr Joyce’s marriage and his relationship with Vikki Campion, 33, on Thursday – also announcing a ban on his ministers having sex with staffers.
On the Today show Mr Stefanovic – who has endured a public marriage breakdown of his own – said Mr Turnbull ‘should have said something’ last year and labelled Thursday’s announcement as a ‘PR stunt’.
Karl Stefanovic (left) has launched a scathing attack on Malcolm Turnbull after he publicly shamed Barnaby Joyce for his affair with his former media adviser
The Prime Minister (pictured) on Thursday formally addressed the public breakdown of Mr Joyce’s marriage and his relationship with Vikki Campion, 33 – also announcing a ban on his ministers from having sex with staffers
‘He knew about it last year and did nothing about it, and yesterday he got on his pulpit and moralised,’ he told defence minister Christopher Pyne on the Today show on Friday.
‘It’s not up to me to judge what the Prime Minister does, but you have to be consistent, and if he believed it was wrong he should have said something last year.’
Mr Pyne denied Mr Turnbull’s announcement was a ‘PR stunt’, adding: ‘What Barnaby Joyce has been doing in his private life nobody wants to pry into.’
The 43-year-old then interrupted, accusing Mr Turnbull of delving into Mr Joyce’s private life and ‘judging’ Mr Joyce for his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend.
Mr Stefanovic (left) said Mr Turnbull ‘should have said something’ last year and labelled Thursday’s announcement as a ‘PR stunt’
Mr Pyne denied the prime minister’s announcement was a ‘PR stunt’, adding: ‘What Barnaby Joyce has been doing in his private life nobody wants to pry into’
Mr Stefanovic’s comments on the shaming of Mr Joyce’s relationship comes just days after his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn (right) spoke for the first time about his apparent engagement to Jasmine Yarbrough
The 46-year-old – who split from Mr Stefanovic (pictured with Ms Yarbrough) in 2016 – said the nuptials wouldn’t register with her ‘on any level’
Mr Stefanovic’s comments on the shaming of Mr Joyce’s relationship comes just days after his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn spoke for the first time about his apparent engagement to Jasmine Yarbrough.
The 46-year-old – who split from Mr Stefanovic in 2016 – said the nuptials wouldn’t register with her ‘on any level’, and she wasn’t bothered by a possible impending union, Fairfax Media reported.
She added: ‘I am just focused on helping those affected by the ever-changing landscape of my ex-husband’s life, to navigate it.’
Ms Yarbrough seemingly confirmed her engagement to Mr Stefanovic by wearing a giant diamond on her ring finger during a celebratory lunch earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce continues to face a growing battle to hold onto his job as the deputy PM after details of his affair with Ms Campion surfaced.
Speaking from Canberra, Mr Turnbull announced the ministerial code of conduct had been rewritten to forbid ministers engaging in sexual relations with their staff, regardless of whether they were married or single.
‘I do not care whether they are married or single, I don’t care. They must not have sexual relations with their staff, that’s it,’ Mr Turnbull said.
‘I think we know that the real issue is the terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby his conduct has visited on his wife Natalie and their daughters and his new partner.
‘Barnaby made a shocking error of judgement in having affair with a young woman in his own office. In doing so he has set off a world of woe for those women before all of us. Our hearts go out to them.
‘It has been dreadful for them to go through with the glare of publicity. Marriage breakups are dreadful.
Mr Turnbull formally addressed Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s affair with his former media adviser Vikki Campion on Thursday
The embattled deputy PM (right) spoke out about his affair with staffer Ms Campion (left) on Tuesday
‘I would like to say to Natalie (left) how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused,’ said Mr Joyce (right)
‘But to do it, to experience it in the full. To experience it in the full glare of the spotlight is a dreadful business.’
He also encouraged Mr Joyce to ‘consider his position’ as he moved forward with Ms Campion.
On Tuesday, Mr Joyce apologised to his estranged wife, Natalie, daughters, Ms Campion, Coalition MPs and voters, but showed no sign he intended to step down.
‘I would like to say to [my wife] Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused. To my girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt it has caused them,’ Mr Joyce told reporters outside federal parliament on Tuesday.
Mr Joyce is expecting a child with his former media adviser Ms Campion (pictured), having split with his wife of 24-years, Natalie, in December last year
Mr Joyce said his marriage had been under pressure for some time before the affair began.
Mr Joyce denied breaching the ministerial code of conduct, which says frontbenchers cannot employ close relatives or partners or get them work in other ministerial offices ‘without the prime minister’s express approval’.
The Nationals leader said Ms Campion was ‘without a shadow of doubt’ his current partner, slamming accusations he used his position to get her ministerial jobs.
‘I am very aware of the ministerial code of conduct. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now.’
Despite Ms Campion expecting a baby with Mr Joyce, a spokesperson for the prime minister denied he breached the code because she ‘could not be considered his partner at the time’.
The Nationals leader said Ms Campion (pictured) was ‘without a shadow of doubt’ his current partner, slamming accusations he used his position to get her ministerial jobs
Ms Campion worked for Mr Joyce from May 2016 until May last year. She became pregnant with the National Party leader’s fifth child a couple months later.
Following her departure from Mr Joyce’s office, Ms Campion worked for Resources Minister Matt Canavan, and then Nationals MP Damian Drum.
Prior to her job as a political staffer she spent eight years with The Daily Telegraph as a reporter, and later Chief of Staff – a role she held for seven months until July 2014.
But the former journalist’s life out of the limelight came to an end after news she was in a relationship and expecting a child with Mr Joyce made headlines last week.
Ms Campion is now in hiding with less than two months until her due date.
The Barnaby Joyce affair – Timeline
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 Canavan 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. 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
Mid-April – Joyce-Campion baby is due
Source: AAP from media reports and official statements