Labor calls for PM to sack Joyce

Pauline Gross
February 17, 2018

Mr Turnbull said he did not care if ministers were married or single, they must not have sexual relations with staff.

Mr Turnbull's harsh words for the Nationals leader have bewildered at least one of their senior colleagues who sees it as a unsafe move that could provoke the junior Coalition party.

The son of sheep and dairy farmers, Joyce has led the coalition's rural-based partner the Nationals for two years.

Recently, it emerged that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's former media adviser was pregnant with his child, and now living with him following the hushed announcement that Joyce had separated from his wife.

It stipulates that "partners" of ministers can not be given jobs in ministerial offices without the express approval of the prime minister.

The deputy prime minister earlier in the day survived a vote aimed at forcing him out of parliament.

"That is the standard I am setting as Prime Minister of Australia today".

"I accept that and that is the price of a political life", Mr Joyce said in his first speech in parliament discussing the relationship since the reports surfaced.

Mr. Turnbull said politicians had to accept giving up some privacy in order to maintain a higher standard of probity in the eyes of the public.

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Questioned by the opposition in Parliament, Turnbull said he still had confidence in Joyce and meant to leave the nation in the beleaguered lawmaker's care.

Joyce will take a break next week rather than step in for the country's leader while the PM is away, as a poll shows his popularity plummeting since admitting to a sex affair with a former staffer.

While I have inherited this ministerial code from other authors, and other prime ministers, ultimately, it is my signature on it and mine alone.

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.

The affair has thrown Turnbull's centre-right government into turmoil, straining the alliance between his Liberal Party and Joyce's National Party and sapping Joyce's public standing.

The fill-in PM will now be Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann, Mr Turnbull announced.

Labor opened a new front in the scandal on today, asking Mr Joyce about taxpayers forking out $A5000 on meals and drinks for a March 2016 function - which he attended - at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse in Armidale, owned by Greg Maguire. Joyce has also come under fire after it was revealed that he accepted a rent-free apartment from a millionaire friend after his marriage collapsed.

When asked if Mr Joyce's actions passed "the pub test", Senator McKenzie replied: "There's a lot of people in the pubs who actually understand".

Other reports by GizPress

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