Ms Campion started working with Mr Joyce as his media adviser in May 2016. (ABC News: Lucy Barbour)
An audit has found former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce did not break any travel expense rules between May 2016 and February this year.
- Only one anomaly in work trips, where Ms Campion stayed an extra night in Sydney between Gladstone and Canberra because she was recovering from illness
- Audit noted and scrutinised that from March last year Mr Joyce spent more time in Canberra when Parliament was not sitting
- It also resulted in Ms Campion receiving $978 in April this year for an allowance she was entitled to but had not yet been processed
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) found all but one of the work trips made by his partner and former media adviser Vikki Campion met the guidelines.
The IPEA began an audit of Mr Joyce’s travel in February when his affair with Ms Campion became public knowledge.
The authority announced today it had cleared Mr Joyce, but said it had applied “particular scrutiny” to two aspects of his travel.
It checked on his use of a hire car in January 2017 but found it was in accordance with the expenses framework.
Mr Joyce’s travel to Canberra during weeks that Parliament was not sitting was the other element closely examined.
The audit found a significant increase in the amount of time Mr Joyce spent in Canberra from March 2017.
The report said when the IPEA questioned Mr Joyce he gave a number of reasons, including his portfolio responsibilities and “immense workload”, his citizenship issues and the fact that there is only one national media outlet in Tamworth.
Campion repaid after audit found she was owed allowance
The watchdog also examined Ms Campion’s travel over the same period.
She started working with Mr Joyce as his media adviser in May 2016 and moved on to other jobs with the Nationals in 2017.
Ms Campion finished working for the Nationals in February, and has since given birth to a son, Sebastian.
The news of Mr Joyce and Ms Campion’s relationship prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a “bonk ban” on ministers having sex with their staff.
The IPEA confirmed that apart from one instance, Ms Campion’s travel was “directed and authorised consistent with the relevant frameworks” and “there was official parliamentary business conducted on each trip”.
In fact, the audit resulted in Ms Campion being paid $978 in April this year, because it picked up a travel claim she was entitled to that had not been processed originally.
The only anomaly in Ms Campion’s travel was a trip were she broke a journey between Gladstone and Canberra and spent three nights in Sydney before completing the trip to Canberra.
The rules only allow for a person to break their journey for a maximum of two nights.
The audit said Ms Campion fell ill while touring cyclone-affected locations in north Queensland and recovered in Sydney.
She repaid two taxi fares worth $100, which were the only expenses she was paid during the “longer than permitted break in travel”.
The expenses authority noted its jurisdiction did not extend to determining “the merits of the official meetings and events for which the travel was undertaken”.
But it said it was a reasonable and accepted practice for the employing parliamentarian to be accompanied by personal staff performing media functions on official duties.