Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce Resigns From Cabinet, Remains in Parliament

24 February, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • IT'S ON Hinkler MP Keith Pitt inset left and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien inset right have spoken out about embattled Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce as a challenge looms for the Nationals leadership

Mr Joyce said he has not spoken directly to Prime Minister Turnbull, who is in Washington ahead of talks with President Donald Trump this week, but notified Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann of his decision to quit.

Barnaby Joyce, the leader of the rural-based Nationals Party, told reporters that a sexual harassment complaint against him that emerged in the media the previous day had convinced him that his position was politically untenable.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Mr O'Dowd said the National Party "meets each and every Monday in the party room during sitting weeks".

Fellow NSW MP and Veterans Affairs Minister Michael McCormack, who recently gave an interview in which he dodged multiple questions about his support for Joyce, is also considered a possible contender.

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

The rugby-loving member for New England said leading the Nationals had been an "incredible honour".

"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.

Joyce's resignation comes a week after Turnbull savaged his deputy in a news conference, calling his affair with Campion a "shocking error of judgment".

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He gained worldwide notoriety in 2015 after he spoke about the Australian government's quarantining and seeking the removal - or possible extermination - of pet dogs brought to Australia by Hollywood stars Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Both of the region's MPs also backed controversial legislation introduced by the Prime Minister which banned sexual relations with staff. Australia's High Court deemed Joyce was a New Zealand citizen in October, forcing Turnbull to rule in minority until Joyce re-contested and won his seat again.

"I will continue to fight for the people in the weatherboard and iron, for the people on the peripheral and the small regional towns", Joyce said in a tweet.

Mr Joyce has spent 16 days fighting off accusations of improper conduct over his affair with his now-pregnant former staffer Vikki Campion, whose moves to two other political offices are under scrutiny.

"Barnaby has made mistakes but I am sure he will recover, learn and be a better person from them", Canavan said. He has always lead from the front and his colleagues and our party membership always knew who he was fighting for in Canberra. Turnbull explained Joyce was taking leave to consider his future.

Earlier this week the Western Australian branch of the Nationals called on Joyce to step down as leader.

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

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