Australia

Joyce defends abortion zone lobbying

Barnaby Joyce (AAP)

Barnaby Joyce is entitled to lobby NSW National MPs against voting for a bill to provide safe zone around the state's abortion clinics, John Barilaro says.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce says he is entitled to lobby NSW Nationals to vote against a bill to provide "safe zones" around the state's abortion clinics.

Mr Joyce contacted MPs ahead of a vote in NSW parliament to provide a 150-metre exclusion zone around clinics.

He said it was within his rights to express his views to other elected officials.

"Members of parliament are there to have your views expressed to them,"Mr Joyce told Prime Seven News on Thursday.

"That is precisely what I'm allowed to do ... and I think in some instances you're entitled to do.

"People know I've got a pro-life position, I'm surrounded by people who don't and I respect their views and they respect mine."

Mr Joyce's calls come after his partner and former staffer Vikki Campion claimed in a paid TV interview that she was pressured by conservatives in federal parliament to have an abortion.

He has been on sick leave since late May.

The proposed laws, which were debated in the state's lower house on Thursday, would also make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.

NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro is unfazed by Mr Joyce's lobbying attempts.

Mr Barilaro, who said he would support the safe access bill when it is voted upon in parliament's lower house on Thursday, agreed that the former Nationals leader was within his rights to express his views on the issue.

"Barnaby can do what Barnaby wants to do," Mr Barilaro told reporters in Sydney.

"The safe access bill is something that I've been quite proud of as the leader of the NSW Nationals.

"People are entitled to express their views, be it Barnaby or anyone else."

Meanwhile, Nationals MP and co-sponsor of the safe access zone bill Trevor Khan would not be drawn on questions relating to Mr Joyce's conduct.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinion on matters such as this," he said.

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