Barnaby Joyce has said he regrets doing a paid tell-all interview with his partner Vikki Campion, after a confrontation with a photographer outside a church in Armidale.
Mr Joyce ramped up his calls for more stringent privacy laws after arguing with the photographer on the street a week after the pair gave a $150,000 television interview to the Seven network.
“We certainly wouldn’t have done the interview if we thought [the media scrutiny] was just going to continue on, obviously it is,” he told Seven on Monday.
The former Nationals leader repeated his denials that he shaped up to punch the photographer, Guy Finlay, who was waiting outside Mr Joyce’s church on Sunday.
Mr Joyce said while he accepted public figures would get media attention, the law needed to be changed to protect people such as partner Ms Campion and their baby son Sebastian from paparazzi.
“These people have the capacity to destroy someone’s life,” Mr Joyce said.
“Private individuals, kids especially, should have greater protections than what they’ve got. They haven’t got any.”
He said Ms Campion, his former media adviser, had been harassed for months after it was revealed in February that Mr Joyce was having an affair with Ms Campion, who was pregnant with their child.
The former deputy prime minister first called for a “tort of privacy” in his now-infamous paid interview with Seven’s Sunday Night program.
A tort of privacy would give private citizens the right to sue for financial compensation if their privacy was breached.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce has answered 79 questions from an expenses watchdog about whether he used taxpayers’ money on trips with Ms Campion.
Ms Campion, who gave birth to the couple’s son last month, has responded to 57, the ABC reports.
The official audit of expenses by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority began on February 7, the day photos of a pregnant Ms Campion were published.
Investigations are continuing, and both Mr Joyce and Ms Campion deny any wrongdoing.
Despite being on two weeks of medical leave, Mr Joyce has been unable to stay out of the headlines.
Last week he insisted he was entitled to lobby NSW Nationals to vote against a bill to provide “safe zones” around the state’s abortion clinics that would make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.
Source: The New Daily