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Get to know Barnaby Joyce

Barnaby Joyce is once again Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister (as of Monday). Let’s get to know the new Leader of the Nationals. 

Political career in the Senate 

Joyce first entered Parliament at the 2004 Federal Election, when he was elected as a Nationals Senator for Queensland. During this time in the Senate, he held the positions of Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and served in the Shadow Cabinet after the Coalition lost power. He remained in the Senate until 2013.

The House of Representatives

Joyce left the Senate and ran for the Seat of New England in the House of Representatives at the 2013 Federal Election. In 2013, he was elected as Deputy Leader of the Nationals. He was also sworn in as Minister for Agriculture. In 2016 he became Leader of the National Party. As the Nationals are part of the Coalition, there is an agreement between the Nationals and Liberal Party where the Deputy Prime Minister role is held by the Nationals Leader, meaning Joyce became Deputy Prime Minister.

The dual citizenship situation 

During the 2017 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis (where several members of Parliament were deemed ineligible for election due being a dual citizen), Joyce was one of the Members of Parliament to have his eligibility questioned. It emerged that he was a dual citizen of both Australia and New Zealand, and he was forced to resign from Parliament completely. There was an election held for his seat of New England, which he subsequently won (at this point he had renounced his Kiwi citizenship) and Joyce therefore re-entered Parliament.

Controversy

In 2018, it came out that Joyce was expecting a child with his former staffer Vikki Campion, following an announcement that he had separated from his wife two months prior. In response to the revelations about this affair, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced a “bonking ban”, whereby “Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with their staff. Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards.” Joyce remains with Campion and they have two children together.

In the same year, reports came out alleging that Joyce had sexually harassed a Western Australian woman. An eight-month investigation by the NSW Nationals failed to make a determination about the complaint, citing insufficient evidence. While he vehemently denied these allegations, Joyce resigned as Leader and stepped down from his portfolios, moving to the backbench – where he remained until Monday. 

So is Joyce Deputy Prime Minister (again)? 

After that bumpy ride, Joyce has returned to the role of Deputy Prime Minister, taking over from now-former Nationals Leader Michael McCormack, after winning a leadership spill earlier this week.

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