Time running out for Australia’s devoutly Catholic Deputy PM
Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s staunchly Catholic Deputy Prime Minister, could be ‘rolled out of office like a dangerously bulging tin of deeply dodgy potted meat’ by the end of this week, according to John Birmingham, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald.
And if he is, there will be jubilation among the country’s LGBT communities. For Joyce, according to this report, is probably best known as an implacable opponent of same-sex marriage.
As the country considered legalisation last year, Joyce argued that such unions are wrong because marriage is a process “inherently there for the support of, or the prospect of, children” and because “every child has a right, an absolute right, to know her or his mother and father.”
Joyce also argued that legalising same-sex marriage could hurt Australia’s cattle trade because business allies in southeast Asia might find the position “decadent”.
While Joyce, 50, was banging on about “family values” during the same-sex debate, his marriage was on the rocks and he banging one of his staff member, Vikki Campion, 33, who is now with child by him. Now that it’s been officially confirmed that the hypocrite is divorcing his wife it looks as if his political career is well and truly over.
Rumours of the affair had been flying for months, but the story was broken by the Daily Telegraph, which ran a photograph of a pregnant Campion on its cover last Wednesday.
In a television interview after the story broke, Joyce – a father of four daughters – called the end of his marriage one of the “greatest failures” of his life. He also denied allegations that he used public money to conduct the relationship.
But Joyce’s harshest words were reserved for the tabloids that exposed the affair. On ABC-TV, Joyce said:
I can’t quite fathom why basically a pregnant lady walking across the road deserves a front page. … I think once we start going through this salami-slicing of a private life, where does it end?
He cautioned Australians against going down the same path as the United States, where politicians’ private lives are routinely reported on.
But gay-rights campaigner Rodney Croome pushed back on those claims.
You can’t put the lives of tens of thousands of your fellow citizens under the microscope and then expect to avoid scrutiny yourself.
Croome said the scandal exposed what “traditional marriage” means for Joyce.
It is not a set of standards for heterosexual couples to live up to. It is a euphemism for prejudice against LGBTI people and our exclusion from the core institutions of society.