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24 February 2018, 05:00 | Bernice Figueroa
Barnaby Joyce’s time on the back bench could be short lived
Assistant Families Minister David Gillespie could put his hand up to replace Mr Joyce, amid reports the NSW Nationals MP has indicated to colleagues his willingness to run if the party leader resigns.
Barnaby Joyce'saffair with Vikki Campion ultimately led to his resignation from the DPM position, and a parliament-wide "bonk ban". They are now living together and their baby is due in April.
"Well there are no issues between the National Party and the Liberal Party in relation to this at all", he said.
"It's about the person in many places, their right to transcend through the economic and social stratification of life".
In October previous year, the High Court ruled that dual nationals could not hold elected office, forcing several members of the governing coalition who unknowingly held New Zealander nationality to stand down, including Joyce.
It went from bad to worse for Joyce this week. "I'll have other things on my mind", he said.
"I think it's my responsibility to do my bit to make sure that happens", Joyce said.
Barnaby Joyce's announcement of his resignation from the Nationals leadership made headlines around the country this afternoon - but a weird phrase used in his speech has stolen his spotlight.
"Obviously, it was confirmed by the allegations that I read in the paper".
"It was after the allegations I read in the paper, I thought that had to be the straw that breaks the camel's back", he added.
Barnaby Joyce isn’t expected to spend too much time on the backbench
Joyce has faced weeks of pressure to quit, from the public and even within his own party.
He also faces sexual harassment claims, which he said were untrue and defamatory.
Joyce was facing a formal leadership challenge before the dramatic announcement today.
Illustrated with pictures of a defiant Joyce in the "bachelor pad" he has lived in rent-free for the past six months at the behest of a millionaire mate, the SMH interview made clear the deputy PM felt no contrition over his affair, with Joyce insisting that his personal behaviour wasn't an issue for voters.
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.
Mr Joyce will be joining the backbench from Monday, and the party feels confident it will be a smooth transition, unlike the Liberal Party's dilemma with Tony Abbott.
A statement from Mr Turnbull's office said the Prime Minister thanks Mr Joyce for his service, and that the Coalition remains "Australia's most successful political partnership".
Joyce had then hit back, describing Turnbull's remarks as "inept" and "completely unnecessary".
Dr Drum said if Mr Joyce loses the support of the party's branches in Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria it will be hard for the federal members to ignore.
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