Barnaby Joyce’s father-in-law has addressed the video of the Nationals MP lying near the road while giving a possible explanation for why the bizarre incident occurred.
Peter Campion, father of Mr Joyce’s wife Vikki Campion, said the former deputy prime minister had received a devastating message before being filmed laying next to the road in the Canberra suburb of Braddon while swearing into his phone late on Wednesday.
‘He had some very bad family news on that day,’ Mr Campion told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.
‘He’s already lost a brother to cancer, that’s what you’ve got to begin with. He had some very bad similar news, which is not up to me divulge but of the same scale and it affected him deeply.
Peter Campion (pictured left with Barnaby Joyce) said he was disgusted by the way his son-in-law has been treated
‘As my daughter said he was in a very, very bad place and was deeply depressed.
‘Any decent person coming across someone in that position, so sad that they have let themselves collapse on the footpath would stop and help, not just take a video clip and sell it to the media.
‘The biggest part of this story was not that Barnaby was an emotional wreck on the footpath, it is the lack of caring nature of his countrymen, his fellow Australians.’
‘What have we devolved to that people will do that? Walk past a man who is clearly needing help.
‘I am disgusted by the behaviour of the passer by. I am disgusted by the people in the media that didn’t actually establish what condition Barnaby was suffering.
‘Who’s to say he didn’t have a stroke?’
The footage has sparked calls for the former deputy prime minister to be removed from the Nationals frontbench, and Prime Minster Anthony Albanese said Mr Joyce needed to explain himself.
In the video, Mr Joyce could be seen laying on the pavement with his legs up and his jacket splayed.
He was sporting the same blue and white tie worn during Question Time in Parliament House earlier that day.
Mr Joyce has tried to laugh off the shocking video footage and quipped on Friday: ‘If I had known someone was there with a camera, I would have got up quicker.’
Barnaby Joyce could be seen laying on the pavement while talking on the phone (pictured) on Wednesday night in Canberra
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia on Friday Mr Joyce admitted what happened was ‘very embarrassing’.
‘I was walking back to my accommodation after Parliament rose at 10pm,’ he said.
‘While on the phone I sat on the edge of a plant box, fell over, kept talking on the phone, and very animatedly was referring to myself for having fallen over.
‘I got up and walked home.’
Mr Campion, who is standing as a One Nation candidate for the Queensland state election in the far north Queensland seat of Cook, believed Mr Joyce was being singled out for his political convictions.
‘He was in a very bad place and someone saw fit to capitalise on that and demonise him in the media because he is a conservative politician,’ Mr Campion said.
‘Those are the guys that the left wing media, which is most of the media, want to pick on and demonise.
Mr Campion, who is standing as a One Nation candidate in the Queensland state election, said he believed Mr Joyce was being singled out because he was a conservative politician
‘The one time this fiercely independent country character needs a bit of support what does he get from the passers by in Canberra? He gets sniggered at and they take a film of him and make it a big media story.
‘It’s a sign of the sickness in our culture that has been fostered by these ridiculous left-wing attitudes to everything.
‘If that had have been Adam Bandt do you think that video would have been taken? If that had been Anthony Albanese or Bill Shorten?’
On Friday Ms Campion told media she was ‘half asleep’ when her husband phoned her and slammed the witness for failing to ask if he needed help.
‘It’s disgusting that when he was in need they could not even check he was OK,’ she said.
But the witness said there was no evidence that Mr Joyce required help.
‘Joyce seemed relaxed and happy lying on the side of the road and didn’t appear to require any assistance,’ the source said.
He could be heard saying ‘dead f***ing c**t’ into the phone on Wednesday night (pictured)
Ms Campion said her husband was not referring to her when he called someone a ‘dead f***ing c**t’ during the phone call.
‘I think he was calling himself one, he likes to self flagellate,’ she said.
Mr Campion did not think Mr Joyce’s video was similar to footage taken of Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe in April where she was ejected from Melbourne strip club Maxine’s Gentleman’s Club and reacted by unleashing foul-mouthed tirades.
‘It’s not on the same scale,’ he said.
‘Barnaby had just received extremely bad news about someone who is very, very close to him. It’s family, someone he has known his whole life.
‘This poor guy had absolutely devastating news in his personal life and this is the treatment that he has had so far.’
Mr Campion said his understanding of the incident was that Mr Joyce had sat on a concrete planter box but ‘gone over backwards’.
‘He misjudged sitting down. He was so disgusted with himself he rang my daughter, his loving wife, and he was telling her what a d***head he was.
Barnaby Joyce is pictured with his wife Vikki Campion on Tuesday – the day before the scene on Lonsdale Street
‘What he needed from anyone passing by was to be helped to his feet.
‘The treatment that he has had absolutely sucks.’
Mr Campion said he could not say if Mr Joyce had consumed any alcohol.
‘Obviously they said “there’s Barnaby he’s drunk again?”,’ Mr Campion said.
‘What if he wasn’t? I don’t know what his blood alcohol was. He might have had a beer or two or he might not have.
‘I went to the gun club this morning to shoot a match and all these people were like “your son-in-law, he looked tired and emotional”, “Barnaby’s been on the piss again”, no one despises him for it.
‘He’s just a regular bloke but that’s not what it was.’
Mr Campion, who is a retired firefighter, said that he and his son-in-law would have reacted differently to the situation if they saw someone laying on the ground.
‘It would no more occur to me to take my phone out and start filming, even if it was a total stranger, than to start tearing his leg off and start eating it,’ Mr Campion said.
‘Barnaby is the sort of guy, he’ll be driving on a country road, say he is going west and he’ll see a car going east full of tourists going east that’s broken down.
‘He’ll pull over and rearrange the interior of his car, squeeze those people in and reverse direction and take them to where they need to go to sort out their particular problem.’
Barnaby and Vikki at their ‘bush-bash’ wedding at their 2023 ‘bush bash’ wedding in a the NSW Northern Tablelands
Mr Campion also revealed a sensitive side to Mr Joyce.
‘The guy is a very emotional man. He feels things very deeply,’ Mr Campion said.
‘Every insult he gets from the press harms him right to the core of his being.
‘OK, he’s a big tough white man. Are we not supposed to have emotions?
Despite the pain of public life and the embarrassment of this latest episode, Mr Campion said it was unlikely Mr Joyce would quit politics.
‘Barnaby is a fighter and he’s going to fight to the death for this nation,’ Mr Campion said.
‘He is going to exert every ounce of energy, every fibre of his being into protecting the nation and the culture that your father and my father and their fathers fought for and built up over multiple generations.
‘He’s a very smart guy and he’s Australia’s best retail politician. He can’t walk down a supermarket aisle in less than 40 minutes. Everybody wants a piece of his time, everybody loves him. His electorate adore him.’
Mr Campion did not always have such fond things to say about Mr Joyce.
When news broke that Mr Joyce had impregnated his daughter, who was working as his media advisor at the time, Mr Campion said he wanted to burn the MP over an open fire.
‘I just want to say ‘baa’ as we call him in our place,’ Mr Campion said referring to Mr Joyce as a sheep.
‘We’re saving a place by the fire and by the fire, I mean over the fire. I’ve got rather a taste for lamb roast at the moment and I think the Deputy Prime Minister on a spit would be quite a sight.’
Barnaby Joyce is pictured on the Bolt report on Thursday, the day after his ’embarrassing’ phone call on the footpath
It was reported at the time that Mr Campion had been estranged from his daughter for several years but the pair reconciled to the extent he gave away his daughter during their 2023 ‘bush bash’ wedding in a the NSW Northern Tablelands.
Mr Campion, who lives in the town of Tolga situated 82km south-west of Cairns in far north Queensland, said he and his wife talk to Vikki constantly and now has only had good things to say about his son-in-law.
‘You look at his runs on the board, what he has done to help keep the lights on and keep food on the table in this country, which the green left that includes large chunks of the Liberals and Nationals seem not to want to do,’ Mr Campion said.
After the footage of Mr Barnaby was aired, Mr Albanese said the incident was ‘a matter for Barnaby Joyce to explain’.
‘I don’t intend to comment on what is clearly difficult circumstances for Barnaby Joyce,’ Mr Albanese said.
But other critics called for the Canberra veteran to quit politics in the wake of the incident.
Academic and political author Jenny Hocking lashed the Nationals MP on social media, and added: ‘Is this the standard [Opposition Leader Peter| Dutton] accepts in his front bench?
‘Barnaby Joyce needs help and [Mr Dutton] needs to show leadership and dismiss him as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.’
The executive director of the Australia Institute Richard Denniss said: ‘Is this the opposite of woke?’
‘Barnaby’s personal behaviour famously led to the creation of the “bonk ban” in Parliament [after his affair with his now-wife Vikki Campion],’ Mr Denniss posted on X.
‘I wonder in his latest performance will lead to a “booze ban” for MPs? Employers breath test workers in lots of other workplaces.’