Following Barnaby Joyce and Vicki Campion’s first interview together everyone is asking the same question – are they a couple?
The affair has become the centre of all political talk over the last couple of weeks and as the story develops everyone has become more and more interested.
It is often difficult to define a relationship even at the best of times and the fact that Barnaby Joyce’s career and potentially both of their reputations depend on it is making it even more of a challenge. Ultimately the question that the both of them are struggling with is, when does it become official?
For many it can be as simple as the first time you call the other a ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’ but these circumstances are rather more challenging. When does it become official if you are already married and then begin seeing another woman?
Earlier this month Barnaby Joyce said in an interview that “Vicki Campion is my partner now” and it is difficult to see otherwise with Barnaby Joyce having left his wife and the pregnant couple now living together.
The controversial question, or maybe it’s the answer, is when exactly did Vicki Campion become Joyce’s partner?
The code of conduct for minister’s states that frontbenchers are not allowed to employ close relatives or partners nor are they allowed to work for other ministers without the approval of the prime minister.
The couple’s baby is due to be born in mid-April making it clear that they were engaged in some form of relationship in November when Barnaby Joyce was campaigning to regain his seat following the dual citizenship scandal.
It is also therefore likely that the two had relations in August and July when miss Campion returned to Barnaby Joyce’s office for a number of weeks whilst still employed by Resource Minister Matt Canavan.
Barnaby Joyce has said before that Vicki Campion was not his partner at either time when she was working in his office or Mr Canavan’s. He followed this by iterating that “Damian Drum was not a minister”.
Barnaby Joyce has not clarified at any stage when Vicki Campion did in fact become his partner although he has previously referred to the breakdown of his marriage that occurred in December. Crucially, the code of conduct for ministers does not specify the meaning of the term ‘partner’ and it is therefore up to the public and the media to determine such date.
This sequence of events has led to parliament introducing a new law that forbids minister from engaging in any form of sexual relations with a member of staff or other MPs.