Others conceded the media interest was legitimate, but have called time on the controversy.
“I’m very, very strong that a politician’s private life is his private life,” Mr Joyce’s assistant minister Damian Drum told Fairfax Media on Wednesday afternoon.
“This one was slightly different and I understand the initial frenzy from the media because of the fact that Vikki was a staffer within the Parliament, so it opened up a range of questions.
“But those questions were answered time and time and time again. That’s when it became very disappointing with the calibre of the reporting, when they refused to accept the facts.
“[With] what’s happened now, there is no story. It’s time for the story to die. It’s time for everybody to move on to what is in the nation’s interests.”
Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie also suggested media coverage of the party’s internal strife was distorted by anonymous sources backgrounding journalists. She told Sky News there had not been a delegation of unhappy MPs that visited Mr Joyce, as had been reported, and that someone in the party was “talking a big game to the media and not delivering, which I think the media needs to pay attention to”.
In central Tamworth this week, some voters were hostile when interviewed by journalists, and were particularly mindful of how round-the-clock coverage could impact Mr Joyce’s wife Natalie and their four daughters.
“Their feelings are being jumped all over by big boots, by journalists,” said Robyn Douglas, 64. “They say your personal life should be your personal life. Well what the hell are you doing reporting it?”
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