Mr Kauter and the Joyce women claim Mr Cadell “lied” to the family about the extent of Mr Joyce’s relationship with his then press secretary Vikki Campion during the 2017 byelection campaign, while Mr Cadell was travelling around the electorate with Mr Joyce.
At that time Mrs Joyce was aware of the affair but believed Mr Cadell would stop Mr Joyce and Ms Campion deepening their relationship.
Last week one of Mr Joyce’s daughters, Jules, wrote on Facebook: “How could anyone with a moral compass handover money to a [sic] the director of the NSW nationals who lied to my family and my mum while they were driving around with my dad and lying to us?
“He betrayed the trust of our family and he expected the two boys who looked after us to hand him money. Despicable human being.”
Mr Kauter replied: “darling, I know. What goes around comes around. We will always support you and your family, even if it causes us short-term pain.”
Natalie Joyce told The Sun-Herald she was upset with how she was treated by the Nationals at that time, when the party was focused on Mr Joyce retaining his seat of New England. She said she could have blown up the campaign if she wanted.
“Barnaby was their focus. That was it – and to keep me quiet during the byelection,” she said. “If I wanted to destroy it I would have [but] I still have four daughters, he’s still their father.”
However, Mr Cadell strenuously denied misrepresenting the extent or nature of Mr Joyce and Ms Campion’s relationship to the Joyce family while managing Mr Joyce’s campaign.
In a statement he said: “Mrs Joyce and I were in constant contact during the campaign, she expressed her desire to see Barnaby re-elected and also some things that concerned her. We did our best to ensure those things were addressed.”
Mr Cadell went on to attack Mr Kauter for appearing to “exploit” the family’s situation to justify his refusal to pay the party what he owed.
“Mrs Joyce acted with integrity and honour during the whole process,” Mr Cadell said.
“It is a shame that someone now wants to exploit the situation two years later to justify non-payment of previously outstanding bills to three different arms of the party. It says everything about the decency of the respective people involved.”
Mr Cadell will shortly leave his position as NSW Nationals state director. Meanwhile, Mr Kauter and his lobbying outfit Strategic Political Counsel are embroiled in another conflict over unpaid dues – $150,000 he says is owed to him by Nutraceutical and Natural Products.
That company is owned by businessman Michael Lehman, whose sister-in-law is controversial television commentator Prue MacSween. The Herald revealed Ms MacSween lodged a complaint with Surry Hills police about the tactics used by Mr Kauter to attempt to recover the money.
Mr Kauter lobbies on behalf of clients including Adani and big tobacco firms, and has become close to One Nation, donating at least $30,000 to the party’s Queensland branch.
Asked about the debt he had owed to the Nationals, Mr Kauter told The Sun-Herald: “As far as I’m concerned I don’t owe the money … this matter has been put to bed and the Nationals recognise the contribution that I’ve made professionally and personally to the National Party for many years.”
Comment was sought from Mr Joyce.
Michael Koziol is a political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.