Ministers banned from having sexual relationships with staffers

Barnaby Joyce expecting baby with ex-staffer reports

Opposition lawmaker Mark Dreyfus said a ministerial code of conduct stated that ministers "must not seek or encourage any form of gift in their personal capacity" and must act with regard for integrity, fairness, accountability, responsibility, and the public interest.

Mr Turnbull made it clear how angry he was with Mr Joyce about the affair.

The opposition was unimpressed with the move, saying Mr Joyce had breached ministerial standards and should be sacked. It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now.

At the start of question time on Thursday Turnbull announced: "The Deputy Prime Minister will be taking leave from Monday, 19 February to Sunday 25 February and accordingly will not be able to be acting Prime Minister while I'm overseas".

This statement is not and can not be a comprehensive statement of rules.

"Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards".

Some of Turnbull's colleagues are concerned about the "can of worms" this will open up, as one minister told me shortly after the announcement.

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

"We must recognize 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", Mr. Turnbull said.

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Mr Joyce has denied breaching the ministerial code of conduct, which says frontbenchers can not employ close relatives or partners or get them work in other ministerial offices "without the prime minister's express approval".

Nationals President Larry Anthony, the party's most senior bureaucrat and a former legislator, said it had resolved to give Joyce more time to ride out his controversies. Whether he complied with the requirements for disclosing use of government entitlements.

"This is the standard that I will hold - from this day forth - all my ministers to".

Mr Turnbull revealed a re-write of the ministerial code to ban sexual relationships between his ministers and their staff, and slammed Mr Joyce for his "shocking error of judgement".

"Our hearts go out to them".

"Ministers should be very conscious that their spouses and children sacrifice a great deal so they can carry on their political career and their families deserve honour and respect", he said. Marriage break-ups are awful, but to do it, to have to experience it in the full glare of the spotlight, is a terrible business.

"Barnaby has acknowledged his fault, his error, his grief about his conduct". He knows that he let down his wife and daughters and he has apologised for that and to them.

Mr Turnbull told Parliament Mr Joyce had given him "unequivocal assurances that he has been scrupulous in ensuring the legitimacy and accuracy for any claim for entitlement to ministerial or parliamentary travel allowance".

Serena O'Malley: "With the right tools and support, I think he can be rehabilitated and something like this will never happen again". He needs that time to reflect.

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