I am not talking about the latest scandal in My Kitchen Drools, Married at First Bight or “I’m a pretend celebrity keep me here”.
The debate I have been avoiding is that surrounding Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, his broken marriage and new relationship with a former member of his staff.
To allow you to decide if you will read on, I will provide a list of the things the following paragraphs will not address. They are:
· The morality of otherwise of extra marital affairs
· Use (if any) of Public Money to facilitate the relationship
· The rights of wrongs of employment of the staff member
· Political future of the Deputy Prime Minister
The family of a high profile public figure suffers in many ways, and none more so in this matter than the wife and 4 children of Barnaby Joyce. To have matters so private and emotional playing out in the media would be devastating to an extent most of us will never know.
However, it is the commentary directly and inferred about the third wheel that has annoyed me.
First of all, relationships in workplaces happen all the time.Secondly, they are often between people of different hierarchies within an organisation.
Thirdly, the vast majority, very vast majority are not due to any abuse of power by the person of more senior rank.
Further, sadly, marriages break up and affairs happen.
Vicki Campion is the (former) staff member who is now the Partner of Barnaby Joyce.
She is an experienced Journalist and has worked in the cut and thrust of newspapers and television news.
She is an intelligent, strong minded person.
If you work in newspapers and TV, you very quickly lose any feeling of being overwhelmed by “celebrity”.
To suggest her decision to enter in to a relationship with Joyce is the result of being “star struck” is an insult to her.
The other comment that has been made, particularly on social media refers to the age difference and his looks. To simplify it, the question posed is “what does she see in him”?
To reduce everything down to a persons appearance is the very thing we are seeking to get away from. We are seeking to reverse the tendency to “objectify” people irrespective of their gender identity.
Let us give her some credit as an independent, intelligent woman who has made her own well-informed decision.
Like Barnaby, she made an independent decision as an equal, and in doing so, was equally aware of the consequences of entering into a relationship that when becoming public, would have consequences for many others.
Let’s give her some credit and stop implying she is some start struck, overwhelmed, subservient person.
And in saying that, please again refer to the first bullet point above