Barnaby Joyce Steps Down

He apologised to his pregnant partner Vikki Campion, who was photographed on the front page of the Daily Telegraph newspaper earlier this month.

"This has got to stop".

Joyce told reporters in Armadale on Friday he would officially step down as leader of the Nationals, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport when the party room meets in Canberra on Monday morning.

"It is quite evident that you can't go to the dispatch box while issues like that are surrounding you".

Joyce said the media attention was completely and utterly unwarranted.

Sitting at number one is Michael McCormack at $1.44, but Mr Hogan said he speculates new comer David Littleproud may also join the race.

Now, Mr Joyce faces a formal leadership challenge with a possible showdown next Monday after a Nationals MP announced he would move a resolution ousting Mr Joyce as party leader.

15 February - Malcolm Turnbull announces that Joyce will be taking a week of leave, and will not become the acting prime minister while he is away.

Malcolm Turnbull, who last week said Joyce "has to consider his own position" and will be relieved at his departure from the frontbench, quickly affirmed in a statement that the Coalition "partnership is undiminished".

A ruddy-faced political maverick who once threatened to euthanize actor Johnny Depp's pet dogs for arriving in Australia without permission, Joyce had presented himself as a family man devoted to his wife of 24 years and their four daughters.

Mr Joyce's resignation will potentially heal the rift between the Liberal and National parties, a political alliance that has existed for almost 100 years. "I don't believe any of them have been sustained", Mr Joyce said.

Now the 50-year-old is facing a sexual harassment allegation, with his party confirming a complaint had been lodged, reportedly by a West Australian woman.

Turnbull, who is in the United States for talks with President Donald Trump, issued a statement thanking Joyce for his service and for being a "fierce advocate for rural and regional Australia".

Australia's deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has finally resigned, after a series of sex scandals that have plagued the Australian government and dominated the news agenda for weeks.

The prime minister's key concern today was to put to rest the notion that the Coalition had been damaged by the messy affair.

"The party will greet this news with a heavy heart but we understand and respect his decision to stand down as leader", Mr Anthony said. The Liberal leader holds government by a single lower house seat so can not govern without the support of the National Party. "The stand-off it invoked between the cabinet's two most senior figures now represents the gravest threat to the Coalition government since it was formed", the Herald editorial said.


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