Australian government in crisis as deputy PM quits over affair

Australian government in crisis as deputy PM quits over affair”

Asked if there was a "sense of relief" that the issue was over, Mr Turnbull said the matters were very personal for Mr Joyce and he had to deal with some personal issues and a complaint that had been made about him.

"I think the interest of the National Party and regional Australia is still served by Barnaby staying there to fight for regional areas", he said.

Australia's High Court ruled Joyce ineligible to sit in parliament after it was revealed he held New Zealand citizenship by descent.

The catalyst for his resignation was the father-of-four's extra-marital affair with a former media adviser, who is pregnant with his child.

There was also the allegation that he cost taxpayers $372 per night to sleep away from his family home for months. "I believe they were in many instances inept". "The stand-off it invoked between the cabinet's two most senior figures now represents the gravest threat to the Coalition government since it was formed", the Herald editorial said.

Tellingly, it was not Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is now in the US.

In response to the scandal, the prime minister announced a ban on government ministers having sex with their employees and later called Joyce's actions a "shocking error of judgement".

Malcolm Turnbull repeatedly dodged questions about Barnaby Joyce outside the White House.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese again called for Mr Joyce to resign, criticising his decision to do media interviews during a week of leave.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who gave Ms Campion a job in his office after she was moved from Mr Joyce's office, defended his leader's position.

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Mr Joyce announced his decision to quit as Deputy Prime Minister in his northern NSW electorate of New England and said it was "incredibly important that there be a circuit-breaker, not just for the Parliament, but more importantly, a circuit-breaker for Vikki, for my unborn child, my daughters and for Nat".

That allegation saw another Nationals MP, Andrew Gee, say "all bets are off" and he withdrew his support.

The Deputy PM has denied this, telling Channel Nine the comments were "spurious and defamatory".

He said allegations of wrongdoing would be referred to police.

The Nationals will need to vote on a new party leader, with Michael McCormack, Darren Chester and David Littleproud expected to be among the frontrunners.

He said he wanted his party to have clear air to represent the people of small towns across Australia.

Depp responded, telling American late-night television that Mr Joyce looked like he was "inbred with a tomato".

"It's absolutely important that there be a circuit breaker not only for the parliament but a circuit breaker for Vikki, for my unborn child, for my daughters and for Nat", he said, then joked about the camera crews that were now waiting outside his house.

"This has got to stop, it's not fair on them, it's just completely and utterly unwarranted".

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