Labor takes aim at Joyce over townhouse

February 14, 2018

Barnaby Joyce has been quizzed about living free in a townhouse provided to him by a businessman.

Labor has taken Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to task over his rent-free townhouse in Armidale provided to him by a local businessman.

Mr Joyce accepted the rent-free property - where he and his pregnant former staffer Vikki Campion live - from multi-millionaire businessman Greg Maguire following the end of his 24-year marriage.

He has declared the townhouse on his members' interests register, but says he did not need to do so because it was given to him while he was a by-election candidate and not an MP, and it was provided by a personal friend.

"It's on the record and it's there for you to see," Mr Joyce told parliament on Wednesday.

The rules say gifts "from family members or personal friends in a purely personal capacity need not be registered unless the member judges that an appearance of conflict of interest may be seen to exist".

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen asked Mr Joyce whether he could advise first-home buyers "how they, too, can get a rent-free home in Armidale from their mates".

Mr Joyce argued housing in regional cities was cheaper than that in Sydney and Melbourne and the government was successfully rolling out a program of decentralisation.

Labor later made light of a marketing campaign for the Armidale townhouse which noted: "There's a tipping point in your professional life where you reach a level of success, and you go from making ends meet to enjoying the spoils of all your hard work."

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