In response to a scandal that has engulfed the deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday banned sex between ministers and staff. The decision came after it was revealed that Joyce had an affair with a former staffer Vikki Campion, confirming the end of deputy prime minister’s 24-year marriage and Campion’s pregnancy. Joyce, who campaigned on “family values”, is expecting a child with his former staffer in April.
The decision was announced at the end of the parliamentary week after the session was marred by Joyce’s relationship controversy. The prime minister said his deputy made “a shocking error of judgement” and created a “world of woe” for the women in his life. He said Joyce was taking a leave to seek forgiveness from his wife and four daughters, “and make a new home for his partner and their baby”. The affair between Joyce and Campion started when she was employed as his media adviser.
Malcolm Turnbull said the incident raises some serious questions about the culture of the place and the parliament. He said it was necessary to make everyone understand the values of respect in workplaces. Stressing further on the matter, the Australian PM said people of the country expect parliamentarians to behave decently.“Parliamentarians need to be very conscious that their spouses and children sacrifice a great deal so they can carry on their political career, and their families deserve honour and respect,” Malcolm was reported as saying.