Barnaby Joyce has slammed “fictitious and rubbish rumours” spreading online claiming his 23-year-old daughter Bridgette was in a relationship with former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro and he’s calling for a crackdown on out-of-control social media giants.
The Deputy Prime Minister made the difficult decision to go public over the “utter rubbish” spreading online after Mr Barilaro stood down as NSW Nationals leader on Monday.
His eldest daughter, university graduate Bridgette Joyce, 23, has worked in Mr Barilaro’s office as a senior adviser since February.
But this week she became the target of vile and utterly false rumours online that she had a close personal relationship with her boss as voters discussed the NSW deputy premier’s departure on Twitter and Facebook.
“I‘m a public figure and I get what I get and I cop what I cop,” Mr Joyce said.
“But I’ve always drawn the line for people who are not public figures and what happens to them.
“It’s not just my daughter. This is an issue if you go to any school and talk to any parent, this is one of their greatest fears, the destruction of their children by innuendo, by slur, on a macro level, and on a micro level.”
News.com.au has contacted Ms Joyce for comment.
Female MPs including former Labor MP Kate Ellis have previously revealed how baseless rumours are weaponised against women in politics. In her new book, Sex Lives and Question Time, Ms Ellis revealed she once had to plead with a newspaper editor to believe her that she was not involved in a three-way “love triangle” in her office with her chief of staff.
The baseless rumours regarding Mr Joyce’s own daughter seemed to have their genesis in nothing more than media reports this year that she had gone to work for Mr Barilaro. The ex-deputy premier has long complained he has also been the target of vile innuendo and nasty rumours.
Mr Joyce’s daughter previously worked for Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor, but she accepted a more senior role as a parliamentary adviser in Mr Barilaro’s office in February.
“It’s just completely and utterly fictitious and rubbish,” Mr Joyce told ABC Radio National.
“Basically, people saying that she had been in a relationship with John Barilaro and that’s why he left, which is just total and utter rubbish.
“When you have local media outlets actually approaching you for comment on this and you say ‘what is your source?’ and they say ‘Facebook’ or ‘the source is Twitter’ and you say ‘Well, it’s no good that these platforms just say sorry it’s too hard to control.’
“Well, it’s not too hard for you to collect your billions of dollars from it.”
The Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said it was now clear to him that governments needed to crackdown on social media giants including Facebook and Twitter that were happy to make money but unhappy to regulate what they published.
“I think that we now have companies that make billions of dollars and people who profess to be multiple billionaires, but they don‘t own responsibility for what’s happening on their platforms,” he said.
“I think, yes. And from my own personal experience of recent times, you have got to get to a point where you say enough is enough.”
Mr Joyce famously quit as Nationals leader in 2018 after it was revealed he was in a relationship with his former press secretary Vicki Campion and she was pregnant with his child.
The couple now have two sons.
( Information from news.com.au was used in this report. To Read More, click here )
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