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Who is Barnaby Joyce's partner Vikki Campion?

The former journalist has found herself at the centre of one of Australia's biggest political scandals.

By Bettina Tyrrell

Barnaby Joyce's affair with a former staffer Vikki Campion was a well-known secret in national's capital. But it wasn't until photographs of a heavily pregnant Vikki, 33, emerged that the public was aware of the political scandal which inevitably forced the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia to announce his resignation on Friday 23 February.

Although Barnaby, 51, fiercely defended his top job, pressure from his party and serious sexual harassment claims threatened his position, and the politician finally stepped down as leader of the Nationals Party and Deputy Prime Minister.

While the father-of-four - he has four daughters, Bridgette, 20, Julia, 19, Caroline, 17, and Odette, 15 - battled the bitter storm in parliament and a public backlash, the woman carrying Barnaby Joyce's baby boy has kept a low profile. Vikki has deleted all social media accounts and hadn't been spotted since news of her pregnancy broke, until the pair sat for a controversial interview together.

Described by a former colleague as a confident, hardworking woman, Now to Love take a look at how the former-journalist found herself at the centre of one of Australia's biggest political scandals.

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Vikki Campion gives birth to Barnaby Joyce's son - Sebastian

The ex-deputy prime minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce and his former-staffer and now partner Vikki Campion welcomed their first child together, a healthy baby boy in April this year.

The parents named their new bub Sebastian. He was born at weighing 3.7 kgs, (8lb 7 ounces).

Previously, first-time-mum Ms Campion revealed the baby will be named after her two brothers, the only people who knew about her pregnancy, before it made the headlines.

In a recent interview with Channel 7's Sunday Night program, the new mum revealed she strongly considered aborting the baby soon after she discovered she was pregnant with a married man's child.

Vikki says Seb is her "miracle baby."
Vikki says Seb is her "miracle baby."
Vikki, Barnaby and Sebastian pose for their first family portrait together.
Vikki, Barnaby and Sebastian pose for their first family portrait together.

"I tried and I couldn't go through with [an abortion]," said Vikki.

"I bought the medicine online, you can't do it in the ACT, I drove interstate. I walked in [to a clinic] and I walked out again," she explained.

However, now Vikki describes motherhood as "beautiful" and calls Sebastian her "miracle baby".

Vikki Campion: The early years

Vikki grew up in Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland with her family and two brothers. Vikki is estranged from her father, who has publicly spoken out about the scandal involving his daughter although they haven't spoken "in years".

When she was 21 years old, the budding journalist was a cadet reporter at the Townsville Bulletin. In a piece for The Daily Telegraph, Vikki's former deputy editor Ann Roebuck describes Vikki as a confident young woman with great potential.

"When I met Vikki, in 2006 when I was deputy editor of the Townsville Bulletin, it was immediately clear this cheeky, confident young cadet reporter was going to make an impression," Roebuck wrote.

A hard-worker, Vikki won News Corps' Young Journalist of the year award. Vikki continued a career as a journalist for 8 years until moving into media adviser roles for politicians.

Through her job in media Vikki has worked with television stars like Sunrise host Samantha Arymtage, who when news of the relationship broke called it "the worst kept secret in Canberra" before asking: "With these kind of stories, is this any of our business?"

Sunrise Samantha Armytage photographed with Vikki Campion. *Image source: Facebook.*
Sunrise Samantha Armytage photographed with Vikki Campion. Image source: Facebook.

Vikki Campion's job and salary

Vikki is familiar with newspaper headlines, not because she's used to being in them, but because she used to write them. Vikki is a former journalist, previously acting as The Daily Telegraph's urban affairs reporter. Somewhat ironically, it was her former employer The Daily Telegraph who published the now famous pregnant photos disclosing her pregnancy.

Vikki moved out of newspaper journalism and into politics where she worked quietly behind the scenes for several National Party politicians. In May 2016, Vikki was employed in Barnaby's office as a media advisor to the deputy prime minster. In April 2017 she was moved to the office of Resources Minister Matt Canavan (a close ally of Barnaby).

She left Barnaby's office when their affair - which was a major factor in the end of his 24-year marriage - began creating tensions in the office. Reports have suggested that in this new position created for her Vikki was earning a salary of about $190,000.

Sometime last year Vikki was moved to the Canberra office of Victorian Federal MP Damian Drum. The Australian reports the mother-to-be took stress leave last October and remained on leave until her role was terminated.

Vikki Campion on LinkedIn.
Vikki Campion on LinkedIn.

Vikki Campion's previous relationship

Vikki was previously engaged to digital consultant John Bergin and set to marry in NSW's Bowral on November 5, 2016. Speaking to News.com.au, John Bergin insists "the break up was amicable," and that he's "moved on".

"We split in August 2016 and we haven't spoken to each other since," he explained of his former relationship with Campion.

"I'm just a spectator in this, like everybody else," he confirmed.

Vikki Campion and Barnaby Joyce. *Image source: Facebook*.
Vikki Campion and Barnaby Joyce. Image source: Facebook.

Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion's relationship timelime

August 2016 - A friendship between Barnaby and Vikki blossoms soon after she joins his staff.

April 2017 - Barnaby's wife, Natalie, reportedly confronts Vikki in Tamworth. Shortly after the confrontation, Vikki is moved to MP Matt Canavan's office.

June 2017 - Despite rumours of Barnaby's affair with Vikki circling, the deputy prime minister attends the Canberra press gallery Midwinter Ball with his wife of 24 years, Natalie.

August 2017 - Barnaby reportedly assures Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that his relationship with Vikki is over.

September 2017 - Vikki is seen managing Barnaby's media at events during a federal Nationals conference in Canberra.

Vikki and Barnaby sit for their first TV interview to address their affair.
Vikki and Barnaby sit for their first TV interview to address their affair.

December 2017 - During a debate over the same-sex marriage bill, Barnaby declares he has separated from his wife. "I acknowledge that I'm currently separated, so that's on the record," Barnaby tells parliament. Following his announcement, Vikki and Barnaby move into an Armidale property provided rent-free by a businessman.

January 2018 - Barnaby and Vikki ring in the New Year with a holiday to north Queensland and NSW north coast.

February 6, 2018 - The Daily Telegraph releases an image on their front-page of a heavily pregnant Vikki Campion dressed in gym gear.

February 22, 2018 - Barnaby and Vikki sit for their first interview together. The couple reveal the sex of their baby, a boy, and Vikki explains he will be named after the only people who knew about her pregnancy, her two brothers.

February 23, 2018 - Barnaby resigns as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

April 2018 - Barnaby and Vikki welcome their baby boy Sebastian.

May 2018 - Barnaby and Vikki accept a contentious TV deal to sit for an interview together with channel 7's Sunday Night. The deal causes so much of a stir in Canberra that Barnaby takes two weeks personal leave. Woman's Day reports Natalie Joyce was offered $500K to sell out her estranged husband, but she refused the offer.

June 20, 2018 Barnaby Joyce's wife, Natalie Joyce speaks for the first time exclusively to The Australian Women's Weekly about "the worst two years" of her life.