Barn­aby gets the boot

Over­looked as act­ing PM; Turn­bull an­nounces sex ban for MPs


BARN­ABY Joyce has been dumped as Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter next week in a dra­matic demon­stra­tion Mal­colm Turn­bull has doubts about his role as his deputy.

“The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter is on leave next week,” Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull told Par­lia­ment.

That news was fol­lowed by Mr Turn­bull an­nounc­ing a change to the min­is­te­rial code of con­duct that will ban sex­ual re­la­tions be­tween MPs and their staff.

He said the move was prompted by Mr Joyce’s “shock­ing er­ror of judg­ment” in hav­ing an af­fair with his for­mer staffer and now part­ner Vikki Cam­pion.

“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,” Mr Turn­bull told re­porters in Can­berra.

“Do­ing so will con­sti­tute a breach of the stan­dards.”

Asked why his deputy had not been urged to re­sign, Mr Turn­bull said Mr Joyce had to “con­sider his own po­si­tion” as he un­der­took leave next week.

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

Mr Joyce was due to take over when Mr Turn­bull meets with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Wash­ing­ton.

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

The usual sec­ond can­di­date, Deputy Lib­eral leader and For­eign Min­is­ter Julie Bishop, will be over­seas.

The move was an­nounced as the La­bor Op­po­si­tion made it clear it would pur­sue Mr Joyce over claims he breached stan­dards in ac­cept­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in Ar­mi­dale from a busi­ness­man friend.

Mr Joyce told Par­lia­ment he was not aware his ad­min­is­tra­tion had made a $5000 pay­ment to Ar­mi­dale busi­ness­man Greg Maguire, who had given the Na­tion­als leader free ac­com­mo­da­tion when Mr Joyce’s mar­riage col­lapsed.

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