Australia: Barnaby Joyce to resign as Deputy PM

by Olga Hunt February 24, 2018, 7:03
Australia: Barnaby Joyce to resign as Deputy PM

Barnaby Joyce has capitulated to intense pressure and announced he will stand down, declaring the government needs clear air and he could not continue on the frontbench with an allegation of sexual harassment hanging over him. They have four daughters together.

Once a keen rugby player, the departing deputy PM, known for his trademark rabbit-fur Akubra hat, has always relished cut and thrust of competition.

The ABC understands at least one Nationals MP contacted the party's federal president Larry Anthony this week to enquire whether the party had adequate processes in place to consider any past and future allegations of inappropriate behaviour, should they arise.

"It's about the person in many places, their right to transcend through the economic and social stratification of life".

The issue has dominated headlines in Australian media this month, taking the spotlight away from the prime minister's policy agenda, including his bid to legislate corporate and personal tax cuts.

It went from bad to worse for Joyce this week.

A spokesman said Mr Joyce had been made aware of the claim and believed it was "spurious and defamatory".

"As I said in my inaugural speech to Parliament in 2010: "I promise not to be silent when I ought to speak".

"He has some personal issues to address, as he said, and he feels he can not do that from the dispatch box", Mr Turnbull said. "It's just completely and utterly unwarranted, the sort of observation that's happened". The allegation, he told the press on Friday, was the "straw that breaks the camel's back".

"Let's just do the presser", he said.

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Depp later referred to Joyce as looking like he was "inbred with a tomato".

Joyce had done his best to ride out the storm, but a "litany of allegations" against him continued to emerge.

Earlier in February, Joyce had admitted to the affair, confirming long-running rumors, but refused to resign saying it was a private matter.

"The National Party can not be allowed by virtue of a secret Coalition agreement to 100 per cent decide who the Deputy Prime Minister is", he told reporters.

Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has stepped down, after a formal complaint of sexual harrassment was laid.

"On Monday morning, I will step down as the leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia", Joyce said in a tweet.

The National party's MPs will meet on Monday to vote for a new leader.

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".

Joyce confirmed he would stay in the parliament, and said he wouldn't snipe from the backbench.

"I don't think anybody can deny the work I've done for the people of New England, whether it is the mobile phone towers, the Scone Sale Yards, it goes on", he said.

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