Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has confirmed his former staffer Vikki Campion is now his partner, however has denied breaching any ministerial rules.
The Minister made a statement outside Parliament House on Tuesday, where he issued a public apology to his family.
“I would like to say to Natalie, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused,” Mr Joyce said.
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“My girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt it has caused them.”
He then went on to apologise to his now partner Ms Campion before thanking his fellow supporters.
“To Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.
“I would also like to say to my supporters and people in my electorate how deeply sorry I am that this personal issue has gone into the public arena.
Mr Joyce said he was “very aware of the ministerial code of conduct.”
“It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now,” he said.
“But when she worked in my office, she was not my partner. When she worked in Matt Canavan’s office, she was not my partner. And Damian Drum was not a minister.”
Mr Joyce did not take any questions.
#BREAKING: Barnaby Joyce has just made a statement, addressing the growing controversy over his affair with his media advisor. The Deputy PM also denied claims out this morning that he pinched a woman on the behind while drunk at a Canberra pub in 2011. #9Today pic.twitter.com/oq1fvKsX4v
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) February 12, 2018
You can read the full statement from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce below:
I deeply regret the failure of my 24-year marriage, the tremendous hurt caused to Natalie and our four daughters and the unwanted public intrusion into what is an intensely private matter for all of us.
My marriage was under pressure for some time, Natalie and I tried to make it work again in April last year but it subsequently came to an end.
I take responsibility for that failure.
Vikki Campion has also been the subject of unwanted and deeply hurtful commentary at a difficult time, particularly as we are having a child together in mid-April.
In 2016 Vikki worked on the election campaign and in August came to work on my staff.
A friendship subsequently developed and that became, over time, more.
In April last year she went to work for a senior colleague, Mr Canavan.
She was well qualified for the role, was an existing and obviously capable staff member and the change was within the existing Nationals staff arrangement.
I did not discuss these matters with the Prime Minister or his office as Vikki was not my partner, so they were dealt with in the usual course of staff deployments within the Party.
When Mr Canavan stood down over the citizenship issue she went to work for another MP and subsequently left the Nationals staff following the most recent reshuffle.
This has been a searing personal experience for Natalie, our daughters and for Vikki – criticise me if you wish but please have some regard for them.