Barnaby Joyce has started Tuesday on the front foot.
He described a story published in the Daily Telegraph as “not the truth” and he reserved all his “legal rights” in regards to what action he pursues.
Mr Joyce also apologised to his wife Natalie, his girls and to his new pregnant partner, Vikki Campion, when he spoke in Canberra.
He finished the statement without taking any questions.
“This morning in the Telegraph and Courier Mail and referred to in other papers is a story that is not the truth. The story is not a case that I didn't recollect it, it did not happen,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is a story that has been brought about by a person unnamed, at a venue unnamed, at a time unnamed, seven years ago, and has been peddled by the bitterest of political enemies to me.”
“It's not something that I'm unaware of. They've had it on social media for years. It's just. in the past, I don't believe in dignified a response.
But today, it's in the paper and as such, I reserve all my legal rights as to what action I pursue.
On another issue, I would like to say to Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused.
“To my girls, how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt that it has cause them, to Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.
“I world like to also say to my supporters and people in my electorate how deeply sorry I am that this personal issue - deeply personal issue - has gone into the public arena.
“I am very aware of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now.
“But when she worked in my office, she was not my partner. When she worked in Matt Canavan's office, she was not my partner. And Damian Drum was not a minister.
“I think this is vitally important in how we differentiate between the public and the private. Thank you.”
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