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Transcript of doorstop: 18 February 2018

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Barnaby Joyce Deputy Prime Minister Leader of The Nationals

TRANSCRIPT Doorstop 18 February 2018

Barnaby Joyce: I would like to start with the comments that that I’ve made to other media units but I’ll make them again.

I am incredibly sorry for the hurt that I’ve caused Natalie, my daughters and Vikki since my marriage break up last year. I say that again I am incredibly sorry and apologise to the people of New England but appreciate their immense support that I have received, immense support.

I also state to my colleagues in the National Party, I thank them deeply for the support they have given me and apologise once more to them for the inconvenience and the hurt as they have gone on sections of this trial and tribulation with me.

Our task and I’ll start with this in the National Party is to help the people in the weatherboard and iron. That is why we come into this building - to look after them. In regards to the code that the Prime Minister announced yesterday, of course it is the Prime Minister’s code and as it is the Prime Minister’s code we support it and we will do our best endeavours to see it through.

It goes without saying that this will create immense fodder for the good people in the media and it will obviously reverberate across all political parties. I’ll go on by saying that I would not wish on friend nor foe the hurt, the scrutiny, the intense intrusion into your life that I have gone through, through this process - I would not wish that on friend nor foe. I think that is something that has to be managed with the greatest deference, as relationships at times in all workplaces are put under strain, in some instances get back together again, and I think you have to be very careful in that space.

In regards to comments by the Prime Minister yesterday at his press conference I have to say that in many instances they caused further harm. I believe they were in many instances inept and most definitely in many instances unnecessary. The reason I say that, it was public knowledge what was being repeated. It was public knowledge that had run on front pages of the paper and all it does is reinvest in the hurt that is held by other people. I don’t know if I have to say that because I listened to it and thought that was completely unnecessary, all that is going to do is basically once more pull the scab off for everyone to have a look at.

In regards to the National Party, there is nothing that we dislike more than implied intervention into the party processes of the National Party - we are our own independent political unit - we make our own decisions especially around those who are the office holders.

Far from assisting, it always does the same thing in the National Party and I’ve been around this organisation for over a couple of decades - it locks people in. It locks people in as they lock in behind the leader - so I would not be making comments or implied comments about the leadership of the Liberal Party and we don’t expect to get implied comments about the leadership of the National Party.

To go to the issue of the apartment and I know that is what people have been discussing in the last couple of days. When I was neither a Minister nor a Member, but basically a citizen and living with my sister - to be quite frank - living with my sister. A friend approached me and said that he would offer me a place to stay. Now friends do not charge friends rent and of course that seemed a more stable arrangement so I took him up on that offer.

What is more important is that apartment has now been displayed through multiple media outlets and has been noted in its address and everything to do with it. I add this - in my time in politics I have had multiple death threats, the most recent has been charged, convicted and is awaiting sentencing and that was in Armidale. He lives approximately 5 kilometres from the place that has now been notified - this is also completely unwarranted and unnecessarily and I ask people just to think about exactly what you’re doing before you do that.

I had to find a place that was secure, that is the nature of it. At the start they hadn’t found this guy. I needed a secure and anonymous place to live. This announcement makes things incredibly difficult for both myself, for Vikki and for our child that is going to be born as we try to manage that situation.

Now I conclude where I start - I apologise to Natalie, I apologise to my daughters and I apologise to Vikki. All these people did not buy the ticket. They’ve been dragged into that. Our job will remain to look after the people in the weatherboard and iron, to make sure those who are born in areas where they are not proximate to the advantages of those in the cities have the capacity to transcend through the economic and social stratification of life to the highest levels limited only by their innate ability. That is our task in this building and that is what I intend to go immediately back to. Now I’m going to take three questions and that is it.

Question: Given you’ve just described the Prime Minister as inept [inaudible]

Barnaby Joyce: I am intending to make sure that like all relationships that this relationship gets back on to an even keel. I stand by my statement - I am the leader of the National Party, he is the leader of the Liberal party. It is incredibly important for our nation that these two parties get together and work closely. It has been the most successful operation in post Second World War Australia and like all relationships that is another one we have to work on.

Question: Quite simply why won’t you resign?

Barnaby Joyce: Quite simply because that is not a decision of my colleagues, it is a right of the leader of the National Party to reflect on where their colleagues are. My colleagues support me. We have a job to do. This was a personal issue- a personal issue that has been dragged into the public arena and I don’t believe people should be resigning in any job over personal issues. Question: Do you accept that by refusing to resign you will continue to be a distraction for the Government and continue to damage the Government as it fails to get its message through?

Barnaby Joyce: No I don’t I believe it is incumbent on all people to make sure that we get back to the issues that are important, that is what I do. I am quite supported obviously by my electorate and my electorate is the catalyst for getting back to my job at the last by-election.

Question: Isn’t not resigning a failure to take responsibility for your actions?

Barnaby Joyce: No its not, that is saying that you are going to now make personal issues incumbent upon a job and in any workplace in Australia when personal issues become the determination of a job then I think we’ve moved to a very sad place.