Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has renewed his calls to raise the Newstart rate by claiming even his paycheque is stressed after providing for his families.

The obvious caveat here is that Joyce earns in excess of $200,000 a year, but let’s roll with it for a minute.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Joyce said he avoids using his heater at night, butchers his own meat, and that “the big thrill of the day to be honest is a cup of coffee.”

The stunning statement comes nearly two months after Joyce welcomed his sixth child, his second with partner and former staffer Vikki Campion.

The Courier-Mail states Joyce provides financial support to his former partner Natalie Joyce, with whom he shares four daughters.

“I’m not crying in my beer because there are thousands, thousands doing it much tougher than me,” Joyce said, adding “It’s not that I’m not getting money it’s just that it’s spread so thin.”

Speaking on Sky News this morning, Joyce admitted his salary as a backbencher is still pretty plush but reiterated his pay packet is subdivided pretty quickly.

“I’ve got the capacity to always make ends meet, and I do that, but… I can’t for the life of me work out how somebody survives on $280 a week,” he said.

Joyce said his life circumstances have resulted in a newfound empathy for those on the chronically underpowered Newstart payment, which the Coalition government has long proffered as a temporary financial safety net for jobseekers.

The Newstart payment, which provides child-free singles a maximum of $550 a fortnight, has not been raised in real terms in over 25 years. Labor has called for a review of the payment with an eye to raise it, while the Greens have straight-up declared an extra $75 a week should be tacked on.

Joyce is among the spare few Coalition MPs who have broken party ranks to support a boost to the welfare payment, specifically to help vulnerable jobseekers in regional areas.

“If I don’t raise the issue than I’m a coward. It would probably help my career if I shut up,” Joyce told the Courier-Mail.

Source: The Courier-Mail
Image: Mick Tsikas / AAP Images