‘Pawn in political game’: New details of Natalie Joyce’s pain

Mrs Joyce in 2016 the day after the federal election, and on the cover of Women's Weekly.

Mrs Joyce in 2016 the day after the federal election, and on the cover of Women's Weekly. Photos: AAP / Women's Weekly

Natalie Joyce has alleged she was used as “a pawn in a cruel political game” by estranged husband Barnaby and his staffer-turned-partner, Vikki Campion.

In a six-page feature published on Thursday in The Australian Women’s Weekly, Mrs Joyce said she was pushed by Ms Campion into attending high-profile events with her husband in mid-2017, while the affair was underway, to shore up his political support.

“Apparently [Vikki] had given ‘her permission’ for me to go,” Mrs Joyce said, referring to an official trip by the then-deputy prime minister to Europe.

“I thought that he needed me by his side. At one time, we’d been a good team.

“So I agreed on one condition – no contact with her for two weeks – but she was relentless and called sometimes 20 times a day.”

Hours after the magazine hit newsstands, Mrs Joyce was photographed embracing her ex at the Sydney funeral of his younger brother Tim. The pair, with their daughters, spoke outside St Mary’s Church then reportedly left the grounds together on foot.

Part of the interview was teased yesterday. In the full version, Mrs Joyce said she was also pushed into attending Canberra’s Mid Winter Ball, where Barnaby famously cracked his whip and hugged her for the cameras.

“The photos of us smiling and happy couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Mr Joyce appointed Ms Campion as his media adviser in May 2016, ahead of the federal election on July 2.

In an explosive revelation, Mrs Joyce also confirmed she was asked to run as a candidate by The Australia First Party, a far-right group led by a former neo-Nazi.

“I did receive a letter from them – imagine Joyce vs Joyce,” she told the magazine.

“But my husband, for all his mistakes, is a fine politician so I’d be an idiot to run against him.”

Mrs Joyce was not quoted on whether she supports the policies of Australia First, which include the abolition of multiculturalism.

The party is led by convicted criminal and former neo-Nazi Jim Saleam, who formerly led National Action, a militant white supremacist group. Dr Saleam, who holds a Phd, was jailed for supplying a shotgun to two men who fired on the home of an African National Congress representative.

The New Daily sought comment from The Australian Women’s Weekly about the Australia First letter, and attempted to call the party’s headquarters in Tempe, New South Wales.

In their televised interview, Mr Joyce and Ms Campion hinted at a major altercation between Vikki and Natalie.

“I can’t repeat the words on television,” a tearful Ms Campion had said.

Mrs Joyce confirmed this, saying she drove to Barnaby’s electorate office and told Vikki to stay away from her husband, calling her a “home-wrecking wh—“.

She added: “It was not one of my finer moments but, looking back, I’m proud I stood up to her.”

Mrs Joyce said she handed back her wedding ring in late September 2017 but Mr Joyce told her he loved her and pleaded with her, ‘Nat, give me a week’.

Less than a week later, she found out Mr Joyce and Ms Campion were expecting a baby. Their son, Sebastian, was born in April.

The baby’s name hurt Mrs Joyce, she said, as she had always wanted to use it if she ever had a son.

“It felt like another malicious taunt in a very long line of appalling behaviour.”

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