Trending News

Pressure mounts on Australia deputy PM over affair

| | Sydney
Pressure mounts on Australia deputy PM over affair
Pressure was mounting on Australia's deputy prime minister Tuesday amid fresh allegations that his affair with a younger former staffer, who is pregnant with their child, breached ministerial rules.
 
Barnaby Joyce has been under intense scrutiny since the relationship was splashed across the front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph last week, with his wife of 24 years making clear she and their four daughters were devastated.
 
He made a public apology to them on Tuesday and defended the two jobs, one for a minister, that his 33-year-old lover Vikki Campion was given after she stopped working for him last year.
 
Joyce -- internationally renowned for threatening to euthanise Hollywood star Johnny Depp's dogs over a quarantine violation -- denied he breached the ministerial code of conduct.
 
It stipulates that "partners" of ministers cannot be given jobs in ministerial offices without the express approval of the prime minister.
 
"I am very aware of the ministerial code of conduct," Joyce, head of the National Party which is in a coalition with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals, told reporters in Canberra.
 
"It is without a shadow of a doubt that Vikki Campion is my partner now. But when she worked in my office, she was not my partner. When she worked in (Resources Minister) Matt Canavan's office, she was not my partner.
 
Joyce reportedly updated his formal register of interests last month to say he was separated from his wife, but has not added Campion, who is expecting their baby in April, as his partner.
 
The growing scandal has seen the Labor opposition question whether it is tenable for Joyce to continue in his position, while the Greens have demanded he resign. Breaching the code of conduct could be grounds for him to be removed from office.
 
New claims in the Telegraph on Tuesday of inappropriate behaviour by Joyce at a pub after an official function in 2011 were slammed by the 50-year-old as "serious defamation".
 
Turnbull and the Liberals have sought to distance themselves from the saga, which comes just months after the coalition survived a crisis over lawmakers' citizenship that threatened their slim parliamentary majority.
 
"The Deputy PM... Said that he had not discussed Ms Campion's employment with me or my office. He confirmed that the Nationals were responsible for decisions relating to staffing," Turnbull told parliament Monday.
 
Joyce was also embroiled in the nationality saga that saw a host of parliamentarians resign over a once-obscure rule barring dual citizens from federal office, and he had to stand for re-election in his rural constituency.
 
He campaigned on a platform of being a pillar of the community who upheld conservative values, including marriage, and comfortably won the crucial by-election.
 
 
 
 
 

TOP STORIES

Sunday Edition

View All

Zuma’s downfall gives ANC a final chance

18 Feb 2018 | Gwynne Dyer

Now that Jacob Zuma has finally exited, the African National Congress, which has fallen a long way from its glory days, has one last chance to rebuild its reputation before next year’s election. Whether the ANC is the best bet for South Africans is a different question altogether As a passer-by in the upscale Johannesburg suburb of Saxonwold observed, the South African Police would never have raided the enormous, high-walled compound...

Read More

STATE EDITIONS

View All

Inbrief

23 Feb 2018 | PNS

Ganjam OPTCL Clerk caught taking bribe Brahmapur: The Vigilance police on Wednesday caught OPTCL Junior Clerk Jugal Kishore Parida red-handed for demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 8,000 from one Jayram Rout of Dhakinapur village in Ganjam district for processing the file to enable Jayaram Rout’s father Narasingh Rout to receive his pending EPF amounting to Rs 94,279. Parida’s residential Government quarter was also searched...

Read More

Page generated in 0.2869 seconds.