Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion acquitted over travel expenses

Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion acquitted over travel expenses
Photo by Matt Roberts via Wikimedia Commons

An audit into the conduct of former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce found that he did not break any rules relating to travel expenses.

The period under investigation took place between May 2016 and February of 2018. The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) discovered that all trips except one had met the guidelines for appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

The audit of Mr Joyce’s movements began back in February when his affair with Vikki Campion came into public scrutiny.

The IPEA announced that Mr Joyce had been cleared of all charges, but added that they had used “particular scrutiny” regarding two aspects of his travelling.

It investigated his using of a hire care in 2017, but later found that it was in line with the framework for parliamentary expenses. The other element that was closely examined were the weeks Mr Joyce travelled to Canberra when Parliament was not actively sitting.

As of March 2017, the IPEA found that the time Mr Joyce spent in Canberra had increased significantly.

The audit report states that when the IPEA initially questioned Mr Joyce he cited a number of reasons for his travel, including an “immense workload” and portfolio responsibilities.

Speaking on the result of the audit, Mr Joyce said that it was time that people moved on.

In an interview with Channel Seven, Mr Joyce said that the audit has “looked up every crevice” and that “there’s not a dollar that’s been misspent”. He also said that he did not intended to sulk or brag about the results of the investigation.

The IPEA also conducted an examination of the travel of Ms Campion during the same period. She began working for Mr Joyce as a media advisor in May 2016 and then took on other jobs for the Nationals at the start of 2017.

The news of the relationship between Joyce and Campion prompted PM Malcolm Turnbull to announce a ban on government ministers sleeping with their staff.