Sexual relations ban confusion

Barnaby defends Coast trip with Vicki Campion

A DEFIANT Barnaby Joyce has defended a trip away with now partner Vikki Campion, insisting she was acting as his media adviser at the time.

Mr Joyce, who is currently on personal leave, said Ms Campion was "most certainly not" his partner when she had travelled with him to the Sunshine Coast on a commercial flight in January last year.

Mr Joyce addressed questions surrounding the presence of Ms Campion during the 2017 trip which came ahead of his appearance on the ABC's 7.30 program and other media engagements, during a family holiday.

He said Ms Campion was helping him prepare for media interviews about an outbreak of white spot disease affecting prawns and had flown back to Brisbane the next day.

"It's unsurprising that a media adviser would come to help you with media on 7.30 on and a major biosecurity outbreak such as white spot," he told Fairfax.

"There seems be an attitude from certain sections of the media now that any story is a fact, rather than making the facts stack up as a story."

Mr Joyce also rejected ongoing questions about his travel expense and other entitlements.

"I am and continue to be confident that there has been no misuse of travel or entitlements, nor that any has been or will be found. I base that confidence on the fact that hundreds of inquiries have been made and nothing has been found," he said.

His comments come as the latest Newspoll shows the majority of voters want Mr Joyce to resign as Nationals leader since the extramarital affair with his former staffer was revealed two weeks ago.

The couple are expecting their first child together in April and Mr Joyce announced he and wife Natalie had separated last December.

Australians want Joyce to resign
Australians want Joyce to resign AAP Image - Lukas Coch)

Joyce should resign: Newspoll

AUSTRALIANS believe Barnaby Joyce should resign as Nationals leader following his extramarital affair with a staffer, the latest Newspoll reveals.

Up to 65 per cent of voters across the country believe the Deputy Prime Minister should resign with a third of those also supporting Mr Joyce to quit Federal Parliament.

Barnaby Joyce reads the Daily Telegraph in a service station this morning. Picture: Supplied
Barnaby Joyce reads the Daily Telegraph in a service station this morning. Picture: Supplied

Newspoll quizzed 1632 voters from across Australia including those from regional areas and cities for the findings released on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has no regrets about the sex ban prohibiting cabinet ministers from having sexual relations with staffers. Mr Turnbull announced the ban on Thursday after it was revealed deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had an extramarital affair with his media adviser with the PM labelling it a "shocking error of judgment".

"I certainly felt that the values I expressed and the action I took, would have the overwhelming endorsement of Australians. I felt it was absolutely the right thing to do," Mr Turnbull told the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program on Sunday. He said the public wanted to hear his "heartfelt views" about what had happened.

Mr Turnbull revealed he had also consulted with his wife of 38 years, Lucy, about the sex ban.

"Yes Lucy and I talked about this, this is one of those classic issues where it's good to take counsel from your wife, life partner," he said. The prime minister also maintained he was not interfering with the Nationals' party processes despite saying Mr Joyce needed to "reflect" on his position. Mr Turnbull described Mr Joyce's affair with Vikki Campion as causing "a world of woe".

That provoked an angry response from Mr Joyce, who said the remarks were "inept" and "unnecessary".

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