Barnaby Joyce steps down as Australia's deputy PM

Jessica Allison
February 24, 2018

Joyce told reporters gathered in Armidale - the rural town in Joyce's electorate of New England about 485 km (300 miles) northeast of Sydney - that he will step down as the leader of the National Party on Monday.

There is a feeling among some in the 21 strong National Party room that Mr Joyce could have survived if he had enjoyed the public backing of Mr Turnbull. "I never tried to be anything else".

In a move interpreted by some as punishing his deputy for a politically damaging scandal, Mr Turnbull did not appoint Mr Joyce to the role of acting prime minister while the prime minister visits Washington this week. The Australian news media was reluctant to report on the relationship with the woman, Vikki Campion, until it was discovered that the couple were living rent-free in an apartment donated by a supporter.

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien says Mr Joyce is the right man for the job.

Joyce, a practising Catholic, has been married for 24 years.

Nick Economou, senior lecturer in Australian politics at Monash University in Melbourne, said it would have been impossible for both Turnbull and Joyce to return to parliament next week after they fell out.

Joyce referred to leaking and backgrounding as damaging the government's prospects.

"The office of Deputy Prime Minister is the second highest in the land, it requires character, and I believe he has failed that test", Mr Hastie said.

The saga has raised questions about the unity of the coalition headed by Mr Turnbull, who is leader of the Liberal Party.

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He has been on leave, after revelations that he is expecting a child with his former media adviser.

They are far from being besties and Mr Turnbull will be pleased by his departure.

Mr Joyce also said he was concerned and "deeply annoyed" at the thought that their child might be perceived as "somehow less worthy than other children".

After hanging tough for more than a fortnight, Joyce said the final straw was the harassment allegation, by a Western Australian woman, that was made to the Nationals federal president Larry Anthony and revealed on Thursday.

"It doesn't matter if Johnny Depp has been awarded sexiest man alive twice, it's time Boo and Pistol bugger off home. or we're going to have to euthanise them", he said.

Soon-to-be former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Barnaby Joyce.

The three men in line to replace Barnaby Joyce as Nationals leader include a gastroenterologist, a journalist and a rising star from the agriculture industry.

Australia's deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has finally resigned, after a series of sex scandals that have plagued the Australian government and dominated the news agenda for weeks. The affair has also spurred a debate about what parts of a parliamentarian's life are private and should be off-limits to media reporting.

Cabinet minister Matt Canavan described Joyce as a mate who had helped save the coalition Government from a first-term defeat.

Other reports by My Hot News

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