Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has accused the political editor of News Limited’s Sunday newspapers of manufacturing a story about him lobbying Tony Abbott to lift the baby bonus to $10,000. Joyce outlines how the non-story came to be in a whimsical op-ed for Fairfax today but declines to name the journo in question: Samantha Maiden.
“Not at any time, sober or otherwise, have I ever broached the topic of doubling the baby bonus with Abbott, and there was certainly nothing that I had said to the journalist that could possibly be interpreted that I personally was pushing for it,” Joyce writes.
Nevertheless, Maiden rushed into print on Sunday with a piece thundering that “Barnaby Joyce is pushing Tony Abbott to double the baby bonus for stay-at-home mums to $10,000 if he wins power at the next election”.
“Where did this story come from?” a bewildered Barnaby ponders today. “I know the journalist is competent, so she would not have just made it up. It is highly unlikely she would have believed the Labor Party if it said I had been lobbying Abbott. So where did this credible source come from? I have had curt exchanges via email with the journalist concerned, and even though we still ”adore” one another, we have decided not to talk to each other for a little while.”