In a bid to silence critics of its maligned Sunday Night interview with Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion, Seven has released unaired footage from the controversial sit down.
The new clips showed the Nationals backbencher denying any misuse of taxpayer money.
“They have investigated this to death,” Mr Joyce said.
“I’ve had, like, 160 inquiries. And at this point, not one, not one, has come up saying ‘Oh, this is a problem'”.
He also labelled sexual harassment allegations, which emerged on the eve of his resignation as deputy prime minister, as “garbage”.
The footage also showed Ms Campion, 33, denying any travel expenses rorting.
“They have found they actually owe me money,” she said.
The former media adviser also claimed in the new footage that she took a pay cut and received no maternity leave after leaving her parliament job with Mr Joyce for other roles: “My wage actually dropped significantly.”
The current affairs show had been slammed by viewers and commentators for paying a reported $150,000 to secure the controversial couple yet failing to push the former deputy prime minister on tough questions.
While Mr Joyce was seen bathing his son Sebastian and toting the baby to his Parliament House office, he wasn’t shown being asked about sexual misconduct allegations that emerged earlier this year.
Interviewer Alex Cullen – described as “unctuous” by Media Watch host Paul Barry on Monday – had a blowtorch turned on him for not asking if the pair misused public funds for travel or if Mr Joyce helped his then-secret lover land a string of high-paying National Party jobs.
Firing back, Cullen took to social media to say he did ask the father of five, 51, about things other than his new domestic life.
But the tough stuff was edited out, said the journalist, tweeting a link to a Seven news story featuring the extra footage, which the network released as damage control: “For those who asked”.
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) June 4, 2018
Cullen tweeted again to defend his performance by saying Mr Joyce’s answers to hard questions were “nothing new”.
I’d like to make it clear that q’s about Joyce’s alleged tax-payer funded travel rorts and claims of sexual misconduct were asked in our @sundaynighton7 I/V. The response to these q’s was the same as we’ve heard time and time again. Vehemently denied hence nothing new. #Auspol
— Alex Cullen (@alextcullen) June 4, 2018
Meanwhile, a defiant Mr Joyce ignored growing anger within his party over the interview to insist he will recontest the seat of New England at the next election.
“Of course I am running again. The first people I would tell if I wasn’t would be the electorate,” Mr Joyce told the ABC on Tuesday.
“I’m still working for New England. I’m having meetings in the electorate today.”
Speculation Mr Joyce might abandon politics intensified after he labelled some of his colleagues “absolute scum of the Earth” on Sunday Night.
On Tuesday, Queensland MP Ken O’Dowd said Mr Joyce needed to make a “crucial decision” before a possible federal election next year.
“It’s very important for the people of Tamworth and New England that they know they’ve got someone there who is going to be in there fighting for them,” he told ABC radio.
“Over to you, Barnaby, and best of luck with whatever you decide.”
Former party leader John Anderson said he would “gently encourage” Mr Joyce and Ms Campion to “think very carefully” about whether public life was in Sebastian’s best interests.
“Barnaby himself told us in the interview how tough it is to maintain a stable family environment when you are a member of federal parliament,” he told the ABC.
If Mr Joyce does run at the next election, his fate will be in the hands of New England pre-selectors.
“He has a lot of bridge-building to do, and he knows that,” said another former party leader, Tim Fischer.