No More Sex Between Ministers and Staff, Australia's Prime Minister Declares

Barnaby Joyce smirked for the TV cameras despite a new ReachTEL poll showing almost half of voters in his New England electorate want him to resign as Deputy Prime Minister

Mr Turnbull said his deputy had caused "terrible hurt and humiliation" to his estranged wife, Natalie Joyce, their four daughters, and Ms Campion.

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

"I don't care if they are married or single, they must not have sexual relations with staff", he said.

Deputy PM Joyce was set to stand in for Turnbull when the PM visits Washington DC next week, but Turnbull told parliament on Thursday afternoon that that was no longer happening, and confirmed that Joyce's request for leave had been approved.

The scandal has dominated Australian politics since last Wednesday when Mr Joyce's affair with media adviser Vikki Campion was publicly revealed.

Mr Turnbull announced in a press conference he had urged Joyce to take leave next week to reflect.

Joyce's explanations regarding Campion's staffing jobs have been pretty weak, and he's facing fresh scrutiny over his relationship with the businessman who is currently paying his rent for him in the Armidale house he now shares with Campion.

"The deputy prime minister will be taking leave from Monday. and accordingly will not be able to be acting prime minister while I'm overseas", Turnbull said above loud heckling in parliament. But she will also be travelling, which means Senate leader Mathias Cormann will take the position.

He has denied that he breached a ministerial code of conduct over two unadvertised jobs within his party that were offered to Ms Campion previous year. "And everybody knows that no good comes of it".

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The changes to the ministerial code of conduct remove the cultural barrier to such reporting.

The mother-to-be then joined the office of Nationals chief parliamentary whip Damian Drum, before losing her job when Mr Drum moved from his role to become the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

"It was at that time that Mr Maguire approached me, as did many other friends.to offer support", Mr Joyce said. "Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards".

Mr Joyce said he would check details and return with an answer on notice, but Labor's shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfuss pressed further.

It's unlike Barnaby Joyce to step away from the front line.

The Labor opposition, citing official standards, argued that ministers "must not seek or encourage any form of gift in their personal capacity".

- Joyce says Campion was not his "partner" when she worked in his or Canavan's ministerial offices.

- Joyce's department spent $5000 on meals and drinks for a March 2016 function he attended at Maguire's Quality Hotel Powerhouse in Armidale.

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