Words that come back to haunt Barnaby
THEY are the words which could come back to haunt Barnaby Joyce.
Just two weeks ago the former Deputy Prime Minister revealed he was expecting a son with his former media adviser Vikki Campion.
Sparked by intense media interest surrounding his pregnant partner, a furious Mr Joyce spoke about how he loves his unborn child as much as his other children and called for privacy.
However in a stunning admission, the now backbencher yesterday admitted the unborn child's paternity was a "grey area".
In an interview with Fairfax Mr Joyce insisted he was never asked if he was the father of Ms Campion's child.
Mr Joyce said he believes he and Ms Campion were apart for almost all of the conception period, but won't get a paternity test.
The revelation comes despite Mr Joyce revealing he was expecting a son in a February 21 interview with Fairfax.
In that interview, Mr Joyce spoke of how he feared their baby son, who is due next month, will be viewed as "somehow less worthy than other children".
"I love my daughters. I have four beautiful daughters and I love them to death. And now I will have a son. I don't pick winners, I'm not gonna love one more than another, but I'm not going to love one less than another either," he said.
"I don't want our child to grow up as some sort of public display. I have to stop it from the start. It's a fact we are having a child, it's a fact it's a boy, it's not more or less loved than any of my other children."
Ms Campion's pregnancy was revealed by The Daily Telegraph last month with the scandal eventually resulting in his resignation from Cabinet.
But speaking to Fairfax on the weekend, Mr Joyce said he was never asked by the Telegraph if the child was his or not.
Journalist Sharri Markson, who broke the story, tweeted an email that showed the paper did ask him this before publishing the story.
NO CHOICE BUT TO TELL STORY
Despite a backlash over the revelation, Mr Joyce released a statement yesterday afternoon explaining his reasons for his latest comments.
"This issue has continued to be pursued by media despite my resignation ... media had also made requests around the issue which was printed today. Therefore we felt we had no choice but to tell the story," Mr Joyce said.
"Despite a flood of other allegations by media and political types being used as a proxy for being together, none of those allegations has been proven true."
The admission sparked a furious response including from his New England rival Tony Windsor who called him a grub.
Many on social media also slammed it as disgusting, hypocritical and disrespectful given he has repeatedly appealed for privacy and for the media to leave Ms Campion alone.
This morning Sunrise host Samantha Armytage also took aim at Mr Joyce saying he should not have said anything at all.
"Forget the bonk ban, this is bonkers," she said.
Speaking to Armytage, television and radio personality Tim Webster said he was struggling to understand Mr Joyce's motivation for this, saying it was political suicide.
"But just think about Vikki Campion and the obvious implication is that she was having a relationship with somebody else at the time and he was on a plane somewhere at the time of conception," Webster said.
"I don't know why he's saying this, I don't know who he's trying to help, himself? He's certainly not helping Vikki Campion.
"I just don't understand what his motivation is, if it's political it's really dumb, if it's personal and emotional well it's just a stab in the heart for Vikki Campion."
The continuing saga over Mr Joyce's private life comes as the latest Newspoll reveals Malcolm Turnbull is narrowly clinging to his preferred prime minister status following recent scandals that continue to disrupt the government.
The PM is sitting on 37 per cent, just ahead of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on 35 per cent, according to the latest poll published by The Australian.
Just a month ago Mr Turnbull was 14 points ahead of Mr Shorten.
The poll follows Mr Joyce's resignation from the Nationals leadership over his affair.
It also comes after the febrile atmosphere in parliament descended into threats from ministers to further air rumours about others' private lives.
- with AAP