Australia bans sex between govt ministers and staff | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 16, 2018

UPROAR OVER HIGH PROFILE AFFAIR

Australia bans sex between govt ministers and staff

Australia's prime minister imposed a formal ban on sex between ministers and their staff on Thursday after his deputy made "a shocking error of judgement" by having an affair that left an aide pregnant and the government reeling.

Malcolm Turnbull announced the amendment to the ministerial code of conduct at an extraordinary press conference during which he slammed deputy Barnaby Joyce for causing "terrible hurt and humiliation" to his wife and four children.

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

"In doing so, he has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us.

Joyce, 50, has been under immense pressure since his affair with former media advisory Vikki Campion, 33, who is now pregnant with their child, became public last week.

It has led to allegations that he breached ministerial rules, with the crisis dominating the front pages and parliament question time, with calls mounting for him to resign.

Joyce, whose National Party is in a coalition with the prime minister's Liberals, will take leave next week, allowing him to side-step the role of acting leader while Turnbull is on a visit to the United States.

Turnbull departs for Washington next Wednesday for meetings with US President Donald Trump and is scheduled to be overseas for four days.

Turnbull said the break would allow Joyce to "consider his own position".

The prime minister could sack him, but that risks fracturing the ruling coalition and could cause a rift between the Liberal and National parties.

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