CANBERRA- Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has said he did not break any parliamentary rules by having an extramarital affair with his former press secretary Vikki Campion.
Joyce is facing calls for resignation because Australia's ministerial code of conduct requires its lawmakers to declare relationships with any staff member or a cabinet minister.
But Joyce says Campion was not his partner at the time of her employment as his secretary and hence the rule does not apply to him, consequently he will not resign.
“I am very aware of the ministerial code of conduct. 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 Matt Canavan’s office, she was not my partner,” Joyce told reporters in Canberra.
Australia's opposition party do not accept Joyce's explanation and demands he steps down taking moral responsibility. Joyce is also expecting a child with Campion.
Even if Joyce is not forced to resign and remains Deputy PM, the scandal will tarnish his image and that of PM Malcolm Turnbull's party.