Fresh HR Insights and the Barnaby Joyce scandal: how not to do it!

(Please note this is our opinion from our readings on this matter)

When the then Deputy Prime Minister took it upon himself to have an affair with his  staffer, Vikki Campion, it would be fair to note that he could barely have had his head screwed on.   It was not the affair itself that unseated Mr Joyce, but his barely concealed favouritism toward the former media advisor. It seemed that in attempting to deal with his predicament, whilst denying the affair to start with, Ms Campion enjoyed appointments to 2 unadvertised jobs within the Liberal National Party offices and it was whispered that the conservative parliamentarian tried to get his lover a gift of free housing from an unnamed businessman.    In the media turmoil which was created by such allegations, true or not, the continuing intrigue over the affair itself continued to simmer like the milk that rises slowly but surely and then bubbles quickly and suddenly flows over the edges of the pan. Well Mr Joyce’s pan of milk overflowed and created bedlam for the once well-respected politician.

If the misfortunates of the Joyce family and the newly in love couple – who are now expecting their first baby – were not enough for Australia to digest,  there has been a strange and surprising twist in this saga of parliamentary intrigue,  which has caught everyone off balance. It is of course the reaction of our very own Prime Minster who has imposed what has become known, unsurprisingly, as the Bonkban. Malcolm Turnbull has confounded us all by deciding to manage the whole matter by forbidding all Ministers from having sexual relations with their staff members – which could be rather difficult, not to mention annoying, if they happen to be man and wife.  Without the slightest reference to his deputy’s clear abuse of his position, nor his massage of his parliamentary privilege to support his own – we hesitate to say sleazy since it really does look like love – illicit extra marital affair Mr Turnbull has decided that it was the sex that we all abhorred. 

Fresh HR Insights does have a few thoughts on the matter which we will pass to our clients for nothing.   Any senior manager of an organisation, any corporate boss, and any chief executive of a company – large of small, who enters into a love affair with an employee should make sure it is genuine, mutual and respectful. We hesitate to say as we shouldn’t need to, that the affair should not be a way of cheating on a wife and family, but in the event that it is – and none of us handle life in the best way all the time – remember to respect the person you have the affair with. Do not deny,  like Bill Clinton, and do not evade and lie, as Barnaby Joyce has, and definitely do not attempt to deliver a series of rewards to your lover by using your position to deliver favours – like new jobs that you don’t have to apply for, housing that they don’t have to pay for and so on. Why? Because you can’t buy respect, and particularly not that of the rest of your staff.   Fresh HR Insights thinks it is good that Mr Joyce resigned to the back benches – not because we are prudes but because he behaved poorly and way below the standard of a decent person – and that is bad for business, and not just the parliamentary business.