Barnaby Joyce dumped as acting prime minister next week


Malcolm Turnbull has sought to draw a line under the Barnaby Joyce scandal by banning sexual relationships between government ministers and their staff and saying the Deputy PM had "appalled all of us" and should "consider his own position".

Turnbull made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference in Canberra as he criticised his deputy, Barnaby Joyce, for bringing humiliation upon his wife and four daughters.

"Barnaby made a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office", he said.

"It is not acceptable for a minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them".

But he is now facing vast pressure in relation to news of his affair with former staff member Vikki Campion, who is currently pregnant with their baby. Because Joyce leads a separate political party, Turnbull can't sack him, unless the Nationals do so in a party room coup.

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"It's been an extraordinarily hard time for the. party and clearly for Barnaby Joyce and his family and for the government", Anthony told reporters.

Campion, who is no longer employed by the government, is due to give birth in April.

As Julie Bishop will also be out of the country next, the acting Prime Minister next week will instead be Finance Minister (and Senate leader) Mathias Cormann.

He made a public apology to them on Tuesday and defended the two jobs, one for a minister, that Campion was given after she stopped working for him a year ago. "And everybody knows that no good comes of it".

Greens leader Richard Di Natale moved the motion, calling on Mr Joyce to resign for "clearly breaching the standards required of ministers" and if he does not, urging the National Party to sack him.

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"I have to admit I was unaware of that $5000 payment", he said.

- Campion moves to Nationals whip Damian Drum's office in August 2017, before going on stress leave.

He argued Ms Campion was not his partner when she worked in his and Matt Canavan's office.

"It was at that time that Mr Maguire approached me, as did many other friends to offer support", Mr Joyce told parliament today.

"Doesn't the prime minister's announcement just before Question Time about the arrangements of who will be acting prime minister confirm that the deputy prime minister can not do his job?" asked / shouted Bill Shorten during Question Time. "Or are we simply meant to believe it's all a big coincidence?".

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"If the members opposite wish to assert that he has breached a clause in the ministerial standards, then they should say so and identify the clause", he said.