Miscellaneous

Barnaby Joyce has contradicted the Nationals whip Michelle Landry about how much leave he will take.

Mr Joyce yesterday applied to Ms Landry for time off, six weeks after he and his partner Vikki Campion welcomed a baby boy.

Ms Landry issued a statement this morning saying he had requested personal leave — effective immediately, running to the end of June and she had approved that request.

But this afternoon, Mr Joyce said on Twitter he was taking leave until June 15 following a routine check up.

While Mr Joyce said he only intends taking a fortnight off, he noted that the medical certificate issued allowed for him to take a month off — which is the time Ms Landry indicated he would take.

 Labor has granted the Member for New England a “pair” — meaning Mr Joyce’s absence will not affect votes in the Lower House.Mr Joyce says he will return to Parliament on June 18.

Like any worker in Australia they are entitled to sick leave.

Manager of Government business, Christopher Pyne, said Mr Joyce had a sick leave certificate provided by his medical practitioner.

“And that is why he has been given leave and any other person in a workplace who produced such a certificate would get the same kind of leave,” Mr Pyne said.

“I think the obsession with pursuing Barnaby Joyce over these issues, perhaps it has reached its nadir,” he said.

Mr Joyce’s personal situation has been under intense discussion this week because he and Ms Campion have agreed to a paid interview with Channel Seven reportedly for $150,000.

The station has begun promoting the program, to be broadcast on Sunday, w

‘Leave him alone’

Fellow Nationals MP Andrew Broad said Mr Joyce had been through “a pretty harrowing time”.

“If he needs some leave, give him some leave, leave him alone, and hopefully he’ll come back and contribute to the direction of the country in his time,” Mr Broad said.

“The thing we need to be always be mindful of is that members of Parliament are people.”

The former deputy prime minister defended the move, saying the pair had “tried for privacy” but their attempts “did not work”, and that it was Ms Campion’s decision to accept payment.

Colleagues are dismayed with Mr Joyce’s involvement in the lucrative sit-down interview, with Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer saying “most Australians are pretty disgusted by it”.

Late last year, Mr Joyce confirmed he had split with his wife of 24 years, and in April he announced he and Ms Campion had a son.

With an excerpt showing Ms Campion saying “you can’t help who you fall in love with”.

Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester said it was obvious Mr Joyce had been “under a fair bit of stress in the last six or 12 months”.

“He’s taking some time with his family, so I can understand that,” Mr Chester told AM.

“Everyone from time to time needs … to take a break and reassess the situation.

“I think Barnaby can come back stronger than ever, but I think it’s appropriate [he takes leave] and I respect him for taking a break now.”