Joyce calls for spouses to share political workload
BARNABY Joyce has dramatically called for an end to the ban on spouses working for parliamentarians to help protect relationships from the "perverse" nature of the job.
The ex-deputy prime minister - who has an eight-month-old son Sebastian with his partner, former staff member Vikki Campion - has thrown a spotlight on the relentless working conditions of Parliamentarians and the toll it takes on families.
In a wide-ranging QWeekend piece on the making of Resources Minister Matt Canavan, to appear in tomorrow's The Courier-Mail, Mr Joyce reveals the limited, private conversations between he and Senator Canavan before his affair with Ms Campion was made public.
Mr Joyce says Mr Abbott made an error in 2013 when he banned family working for parliamentarians.
"One of the mistakes Tony Abbott made was this sort of restriction on partners' travel or (your) wife working for you,'' Mr Joyce says.
"(Your loved one is) probably one of the best persons working for you because she more than anyone understands your diary, understands kids birthdays, anniversaries. Understands all the things you've got to be a part of if you want to stay married.
"The only way you can give true support to a relationship is allow people to be together as much as they possibly can. And that's not unusual. In the US they (family) go live in Washington.
"It shouldn't matter what the public think. They should be doing everything they can to have their partners down here (in Canberra) basically whenever they want to be here."
Mr Joyce admits he made a mistake not going home more often when married to wife Natalie and now constantly tells his colleagues to "go home" as often as they can.
He says being successful in politics is both a blessing and a curse - the better MPs are at their job, the more they are relied upon and called on to travel to help other colleagues.
"You pick up your diary, and say 'I just don't (get) to go home,'' Mr Joyce says.
"And things go snap and then everybody will blame you for it and they will say, 'aren't you a terrible person', and then you're a terrible person but your circumstances are peculiar because you're always on the road."
Mr Joyce reveals the tough fights he had with Mr Abbott when he was Opposition Leader.
In September 2012, Mr Joyce and Mr Abbott had a huge blow-up over the sale of Cubbie Station (cotton station and irrigation property in southwest Queensland).
"They sold Cubbie Station to the Chinese and I lost my shit,'' says Joyce, who was then a Queenslander Senator.
A spokesman for Special Minister of State Alex Hawke said the Government's position on family and spousal hire had not changed.