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Barnaby Joyce: Australia PM bans ministers from sex with staff

Barnaby Joyce: Australia PM bans ministers from sex with staff

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will take a leave of absence following politically damaging debate over his affair with a former staffer.

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

Changes introduced by Mr Turnbull include banning sexual relations with staff. "But we must recognise that whatever may have been acceptable or to which a blind eye was turned in the past, today, in 2018, it is not acceptable for a minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them".

It's raised questions as whether Joyce is in any way capable of doing his damn job, if he, as Deputy, can't even fill in for the Prime Minister.

It marks a further fall from grace for Mr Joyce, who was due to take over the Acting Prime Minister position next week when Mr Turnbull meets with Donald Trump in Washington.

The overturning of usual practice when the head of government is absent is a clear indication of the prospect of substantial embarrassment were Mr Joyce to take the job.

"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.




- Joyce reveals in parliament in December he is separated from his wife of 24 years, Natalie.

The acting prime minister will be Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is the government's Senate leader.

There are rules when it comes to "partners" of members of parliament working in other MPs offices, which is what Campion went on to do after leaving Joyce's office in April previous year. "And everybody knows that no good comes of it", Turnbull said.

"These are matters for Barnaby Joyce to reflect on", he said. "Barnaby should be given time", Anthony added.

Labor accused him of breaching ministerial standards by asking for a place to live, and in effect receiving a gift of not paying rent for six months.

"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. And while not denying that the pair were indeed a couple when Campion was moved again from Canavan's office to that of MP Damian Drum's office, Joyce noted that Drum wasn't a minister at the time - which meant, effectively, Drum was not subject to the ministerial code of conduct that prevents politicians from giving jobs to their partners or family members.

The opposition also pointed to a $5000 contract handed to Mr Maguire's business to hold an Agriculture Department event at his pub in Armidale.


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