Ministers banned from sex with staffers as deputy PM gets adviser pregnant

Ceria Alfonso
Febrero 15, 2018

Australia's beleaguered deputy prime minister has withstood a parliamentary vote that would have called for his firing after revelations of a relationship with a former staffer.

"The real issue is the awful hurt and humiliation that Barnaby, by his conduct, has visited on his wife, Natalie and their daughters and indeed, his new partner", Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"Barnaby... has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us".

Mr Turnbull can not sack his deputy because it is up to the Nationals MPs to choose their leader under the coalition agreement.

The Telegraph breaks the story in a gross violation of privacy
The Telegraph breaks the story in a gross violation of privacy

"I have today added to the standards the very clear and unequivocal provision that ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with a staff member", said Turnbull at a press conference in Canberra. It is understood Mr Turnbull's condemnation has only made him more determined to stay on his position. "Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards", said the Prime Minister.

But Mr Turnbull refused to order an investigation into the allegations. During a speech addressing the governmental scandal on Thursday, Turnbull said the affair raised "some serious issues about the culture of this place, of this parliament, " and announced his intent to make changes to the ministerial code of conduct "as of today".

Mr Joyce's office released a statement saying he was going on leave to support his family and partner "after such intense public focus on personal matters".

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