UPDATE: Australian Deputy Prime Minister Says His Extra-Marital Affair Punishment ‘Unnecessary’

Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce called the actions of Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull unnecessary following Turnbull’s decision to place a ban on extramarital affairs between his ministers and their staffs.

Recall that Joyce was accused of having an affair with his former press secretary who is now expecting his child.

Turnbull’s comments have “caused further harm,” Joyce told reporters in the Australian capital Canberra on Friday.

“I believe they were in many instances inept, and most definitely in many instances unnecessary.”

The 50-year-old conservative politician said he would not resign as deputy prime minister.

He once again apologised to his family, his political party, and his new, pregnant partner, Vikki Campion, 33.

“This was a personal issue… People should not resign on personal issues,” a visibly angry Joyce said.

He also said the new ministerial code of conduct will create “immense fodder” for the media, which has launched a steady stream of reporting, analysis and debate on the issues surrounding Joyce’s affair since a tabloid newspaper revealed the relationship on Feb. 6.

“I am intending to make sure that, like all relationships, this relationship gets back onto an even keel,” Joyce said when he was asked by journalists about his relationship with the prime minister.

Joyce is the leader of Turnbull’s coalition partner, the Nationals, and so it is not possible for the prime minister to fire his deputy unless Joyce’s own party asks him to resign.

“I have not sought in any way to influence the deliberations of the National party. Neither I nor my colleagues have made any criticism of the National party,” Turnbull said after Joyce’s attack.

“I have seen Barnaby’s press conference and look I understand it’s a very stressful time.

“I thank him for his support for the very important change I’ve made to the ministerial standards,” Turnbull told reporters in Tasmania.

Earlier, he said that Joyce was considering his position and that he had not asked the deputy prime minister to resign.

Joyce has also come under fire over his acceptance of a rent-free apartment offered to him by his “mate,” millionaire Greg Maguire, who, it later turned out, benefitted from an event organised by Joyce’s department at one of his hotels at a cost of 4,000 US dollars.

Joyce has also been criticised for giving jobs to his lover Campion in another minister’s office, which some consider a breach of the ministerial code of conduct.

Meanwhile, the opposition Labor party’s leader, Bill Shorten, took the opportunity to lob an attack at the government, saying Joyce had “declared war” on Turnbull, but the prime minister was powerless to sack his deputy.

“Australians have every reason to be angry and frustrated when the two most senior Australian leaders are not focused on anything other than their own jobs,” Shorten told reporters.


Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Goes On Leave After Infidelity Scandal

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that ministers will be baned from sexual relationships with staffs under a new code of conduct to be enacted.

Turnbull’s decision might be as a result of his deputy admitting to an extramarital affair with a staffer. Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a Catholic who campaigned on “family values” and been married for 24 years, is expecting a child with his former press secretary.

The affair has thrown Turnbull’s centre-right government into turmoil, straining the alliance between his Liberal Party and Joyce’s National Party and sapping Joyce’s public standing.

Joyce has so far resisted calls to quit either his seat or his cabinet spot, including a motion that passed the Senate calling for his resignation, since leaving parliament would put the government’s narrow one-seat majority at risk.

While speaking to reporters I Canberra, the Prime Minister said;

“Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with staff,”

“In 2018, it is not acceptable for a minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them.
“It is a very bad workplace practice. And everybody knows that no good comes of it.”

“The deputy prime minister will be taking leave from Monday…and accordingly will not be able to be acting prime minister while I‘m overseas,” Turnbull said above loud heckling in parliament.

The percentage of voters backing him crashed to 43 per cent, according to the ReachTEL poll published in Fairfax newspapers on Thursday, down from the 63 per cent margin he won at a by-election in December.

Australia’s ministerial code of conduct requires lawmakers to declare relationships with any staff member of a cabinet minister.

There are also questions about Joyce’s acceptance, rent-free, of a townhouse belonging to a wealthy friend, Greg Maguire, and whether Joyce broke ministerial rules forbidding asking for gifts.

Joyce denied asking for the townhouse.

“Most people would realize that at the time of a marriage break-up, it is not unusual for those who you are close to, to offer support,” he told parliament.

“Mr Maguire approached me…he said: ‘You’re living out of a suitcase, and this is basically something that I should try and help you with.’ I took him up on the offer but I offered to pay for it.”

He has also said he did not break any rules over Campion’s employment because she was not his “partner” at the time.


Trade Between Nigeria And Australia Rises To N100bn

Trade transactions between Australia and Nigeria in the last two years have risen to about N100bn.

This was disclosed by the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Lehmann, on Thursday, in Lagos. Lehmann said in Lagos that trade relations between both countries in 2016 and 2017 were worth about AUD$343m, approximately about N100bn.

The High Commissioner said that apart from trade in goods and services, many Nigerians had within the two years also taken advantage of educational opportunities in Australia.

“We estimate that Australia’s total two-way trade in goods and services with Nigeria was worth about AUD$343m in 2016 and 2017, which is about N100bn.

“Many more Nigerians are choosing to study in Australia, which is becoming a key part of our trade relationship. A variety of Australian mining companies are also active in Nigeria.

“As the Nigerian mining sector develops, I expect to see even more interest from Australian firms to help to grow the mining industry here, particularly in solid minerals.

“I also see plenty of potential for trade and cooperation in our agricultural sectors, as well as different foods and beverages,’’ he said.

Lehmann, who described Australian investors as “intrepid,’’ said that there would be more opportunities for Australian businesses in Nigeria when conditions for the Ease of Doing Business improve.

He commended the Nigerian Government’s effort at improving the country’s business and investment environment, adding that more Australian companies would want to do business in Nigeria when the environment becomes right.

According to him, beyond mining and agriculture, Australian firms have strong reputations in ICT, logistics and transport, health and financial services, among many other sectors.

“Australian investors are intrepid, and if the conditions are right, there are many sectors that present opportunities for Australian businesses here.

“I expect interest in the Nigerian market to grow even more in the coming years, and I’m certainly optimistic about the direction of Nigeria’s economy and our trade relationships,’’ he added.

Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland and its largest urban area is Sydney.

Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.

It is the largest country in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.

The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the North; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the North-East; and New Zealand to the South-East.