Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Barnabye: Joyce resigns as Deputy PM

Barnabye: Joyce resigns as Deputy PM

Joyce, 50, said he will also step down as leader of the National party, the junior coalition partner in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government, but remain in parliament.

Barnaby Joyce has thanked the people of New England as he resigns as Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader.

"This has got to stop. I'll have other things on my mind", he said. Mr Turnbull addresses the media in Washington DC.

Joyce had not directly told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull he is resigning but he said he spoke to Mathias Cormann, who is acting in the role while Turnbull is overseas.

"He has personal issues that he has to address and he feels that he can not do that from the dispatch box", Mr Turnbull said.

In recent days, Mr Joyce's party colleagues began to withdraw support.

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. No details have emerged.

Joyce called the allegation "spurious and defamatory" and said he wanted it investigated by the authorities.

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Nick Economou, senior lecturer in Australian politics at Monash University in Melbourne, said it would have been impossible for both Turnbull and Joyce to return to parliament next week after they fell out.

He said he came to the decision to step down following the allegations describing it as the straw that broke the camel's back.

"The leaking, the backgrounding, all that, it will destroy not only our government, it will destroy any government".

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.

While leading a major delegation to the United States, Mr Turnbull was asked twice about whether he still supported Mr Joyce and told reporters it was not up to him. His party will elect a new leader on Monday.

19 February - Nationals MP Michael McCormack, seen as a frontrunner to replace Joyce, refuses to pledge his loyalty. "The leadership of the National Party is a matter for the National Party and I've been at great pains to stress that I have not, nor has my party, sought to influence in any way the deliberations of the National Party, any more than I'd expect the National Party to seek to influence deliberations of the Liberal Party".

"Joyce's departure to the backbench obviously brings immediate relief for the government and the Nationals", wrote commentator Michelle Grattan on The Conversation website. But the saga could leave lasting tensions between the two parties that make up the ruling coalition.

"What it will mean beyond that is more hard to predict".

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