Barnaby’s Hypocrisy Slammed As He Calls For New Privacy Laws

Published: 11 June 2018

Joyce getting a little private time in Parliament last month

Just a week after big payday interview and abortion clinic safe zone call

Joyce getting a little private time in Parliament last month
Image © 2018 AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Barnaby Joyce has ramped up his calls for more stringent privacy laws after arguing with a photographer on the street a week after giving a $150,000 television interview.

The former Nationals leader denies the photographer's claims he had shaped up to throw a punch at the man, who Mr Joyce said was "hiding in the bushes" outside a church on Sunday.

Despite being on two weeks of medical leave, Mr Joyce has been unable to stay out of the headlines.

Last week he insisted he was entitled to lobby NSW Nationals to vote against a bill to provide "safe zones" around the state's abortion clinics that would make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.

NSW Labor MP Penny Sharp accused Mr Joyce of being a hypocrite for opposing protections for harassment of women at clinics, but objecting to being photographed himself outside church.

“Hypocrisy, thy name is Barnaby,” Ms Sharpe told The Australian on Sunday.

“Barnaby probably needs to learn more about intrusion of privacy, harassment and intimidation rather than trying to tell everyone else what it is.

“Women outside abortion clinics are not paid $150,000 to tell their stories. All they want to do is seek medical treatment without interference. The two things are not the same.”

Mr Joyce said he accepted public figures would get media attention, but laws needed to be changed to protect people like his partner Vikki Campion and the couple's baby son Sebastian from paparazzi.

"These people have the capacity to destroy someone's life," Mr Joyce said on Monday.

He said Ms Campion, his former media adviser, had been harassed for months after it was revealed in February that Mr Joyce was having an affair with Ms Campion, who was pregnant with their child.

"Private individuals, kids especially, should have greater protections than what they've got. They haven't got any," Mr Joyce said.

Government minister Simon Birmingham was quick to show he wouldn't support the move.

"I don't see any need for Australia's privacy laws to be changed," he told Sky News.

The former deputy prime minister first called for a "tort of privacy" in his infamous paid interview with Seven's Sunday Night program.

He said the couple did the interview in the hope it would be a "circuit-breaker" which would end the intense scrutiny on their private lives.

"We certainly wouldn't have done the interview if we thought it was just going to continue on, obviously it is," Mr Joyce said.

Mr Joyce has answered 79 questions from an expenses watchdog about whether he used taxpayers' money on trips with Ms Campion.

Ms Campion, who gave birth to the couple's son last month, has responded to 57 questions, the ABC reports.

The official audit of expenses by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority began on February 7, the day photos of a pregnant Ms Campion were published.

Investigations are continuing and both Mr Joyce and Ms Campion deny any wrongdoing.

with AAP
© 2018 AAP