‘I was invited’: Barnaby Joyce sets the record straight
Barnaby Joyce is being accused of charging taxpayers to attend a pro-live sheep export forum in Western Australia despite organisers being split over whether he should attend.
The Australian reports the bill for him, his partner Vikki Campion and their son Sebastian, was more than $6000.
Before the event – which was held in July last year – there were reports some senior farming figures didn’t want Mr Joyce there.
The former Deputy Prime Minister is defending his decision to attend and says he was formally invited.
“I was invited – absolutely, categorically in fact,” he tells Chris Smith.
“It’s not unusual that I’m going to try and support an industry that is underpinning the price of sheep.”
The live sheep trade was thrust into the spotlight last year, after footage emerged of hundreds of sheep in distress on a ship bound for the Middle East.
Mr Joyce tells Chris he doesn’t want to see the live sheep trade “smashed like… the live cattle trade” as “people will become poorer”.
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In a wide-ranging interview with Chris, Mr Joyce has also avoided speculation he’s expecting a second child with partner Vikki Campion.
“I don’t answer questions about other people,” he says.
“Those issues are private so I’m going to leave it.
“I’m not confirming or denying, I’m just not going to talk about.”