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Barnaby Joyce jumps as pressure builds
March 24 2018, 07:42 | Irvin Gilbert
Australian Deputy PM Resigns Over Extramarital Affair
Joyce was deputy prime minister since February 2016 when he was elected head of the National party, the junior partner in Australia's governing coalition.
"All complaints are taken seriously and treated with the strict confidentiality and given due process", the National Party federal director Ben Hindmarsh said in a statement.
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien says Mr Joyce is the right man for the job. He has denied the allegation and asked that it be referred to police for investigation.
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.
One reason being the unmatched strength Mr Joyce brings to the Nationals as they fight Labor, Liberals, Greens, Hanson-ites - they all want to steal the party's territory.
Turnbull made the comments at the same time he overhauled the code of conduct for government ministers and barred them from having sexual relations with their staff.
He was forced out of Parliament past year and contested a byelection after discovering he was a dual New Zealand citizen and therefore had been constitutionally ineligible for election.
The Nationals President Larry Anthony said the party had greeted the news of Joyce's resignation with "a heavy heart", The Guardian reported.
Barnaby Joyce has capitulated to intense pressure and announced he will stand down, declaring the government needs clear air and he could not continue on the frontbench with an allegation of sexual harassment hanging over him.
"(It has been an) incredible privilege, that I'm so humbled by, to have been the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia", he said.
Mr Turnbull also announced a ban on sex between ministers and their staff and launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Joyce's relationship - calling it "a shocking error" that unleashed "a world of woe".
He said he came to the decision to step down following the allegations describing it as the straw that broke the camel's back.
"It's got to stop. I don't believe any of them have been sustained", Joyce said.
"I've acknowledged that in many areas, I'm rough around the edges", Mr. Joyce said at a news conference in the city of Armidale.
He gained global notoriety in 2015 after he spoke about the Australian government's quarantining and seeking the removal - or possible extermination - of pet dogs brought to Australia by Hollywood stars Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.