Lyne MP David Gillespie supports Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce

Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie with Barnaby Joyce in Wauchope last year. Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.
Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie with Barnaby Joyce in Wauchope last year. Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

Lyne MP David Gillespie says it might have been better if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had spoken privately to Barnaby Joyce about his affair with a former staff member.

The tit-for-tat spat is now threatening the stability of the Coalition and the government.

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that the Nationals leader’s former staff member, Vikki Campion is pregnant with his child.  

Barnaby Joyce in Wauchope in May last year.  Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

Barnaby Joyce in Wauchope in May last year. Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

On Thursday, Mr Turnbull gave an extraordinary news conference, accusing his deputy of inflicting "terrible hurt and humiliation" and "appalling" behaviour that had caused a "world of woe" for his wife and four daughters, and urged Mr Joyce to consider his position. 

Today Friday, Barnaby Joyce told the media that Mr Turnbull’s comments on his affair were "inept", "unnecessary" and "hurtful", and said they once more pulled the scab off, for everyone to look at.

He also said there was nothing the Nationals dislike more than implied intervention into party processes.

Labor leader Bill Shorten then said the Coalition government is eating itself alive and that the government is in crisis.

Today, Nationals MP and member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, said he was surprised by the Prime Minister’s comments yesterday.

“I think it might have been better to say that privately.  It’s history now. I don’t want to get involved in an intensely private matter that is now out in the public.  This is not what people want us to be talking about.

“Unfortunately, 45 per cent of Australian marriages do break down and politicians are not immune to it.  That’s why I put so much effort into my marriage.

“The nature of the job is that you’re away for weeks at a time.  Unless you’re conscious of making things work, next thing you wake up and it isn’t what it used to be.  

“If Barnaby has done something wrong by the regulations, he is very aware that everyone is responsible for their actions,” added Dr Gillespie.

So if Barnaby Joyce does eventually resign, would David Gillespie put his name forward to be Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister?

“I support Barnaby Joyce.  He is our leader and he has delivered amazing dividends for people living in regional Australia: highways, roads, agriculture, building dams. I support him in this difficult time,” said the Lyne MP.

Nationals MP, and Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker said that he stands behind his leader, but acknowledged the rift between the Liberals and the Nationals.

“It is important that as Coalition partners we work hard for all Australians, but we are two separate parties and sometimes we have our moments; but we will get through this,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Barnaby Joyce needs to work through his issues and it is unfortunate that by virtue of his position, Barnaby Joyce’s situation is in the public arena.

“All coalitions go through their ups and downs, but this issue is bigger than the two incumbent leaders, and moving forward we all need to continue to work together, because the alternative is a Shorten Labor Government with higher taxes.”

When asked if he had received any feedback from the local community, Mr Hartsuyker conceded that not all his constituents agree that Mr Joyce should stay on as Nationals leader, but that he would stand up and support the embattled Joyce.

“Yes, my office has been getting a lot of feedback about this issue with a broad range of views; some people say he should resign but others are calling on me to support him,” he said.

“I do support Barnaby Joyce as leader of the Nationals and I will continue to do so.”