Sex ban for ministers and staff: Turnbull

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Mr Turnbull's overhaul of the ministerial code comes after the US House last week adopted rules banning sex between members and their staff.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced changes to ministerial standards following a week of heavy scrutiny of deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and his personal life.

He spoke of the "terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby, by his conduct, has visited on his wife Natalie and their daughters - and indeed his new partner".

"Barnaby made a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office", he said.

Ms. McGowan said Thursday that although she welcomed the prime minister's announcement, the government should consider a code of conduct for all those who work in Parliament.

Announcing he was changing ministerial standards to ban ministers from having sexual relations with their staff, a solemn Mr Turnbull conceded if Mr Joyce had done "what he did past year tomorrow or today he would be in breach of the code".

Mr Joyce is set to serve as acting Prime Minister next week when Malcolm Turnbull travels to the U.S. on an official visit, however he is facing a range of queries about his expenses and relationship with Miss Campion, who is now pregnant with his child.

Opposition parties stepped up their attacks on Mr Joyce on Thursday, calling on him to resign.

"Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards".

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"These are matters for Barnaby Joyce to reflect on".

Instead, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will take on the role when Turnbull travels to the United States to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington D.C, reported ABC News.

Mr Joyce told Parliament he was not aware his administration had made a $5000 payment to Armidale businessman Greg Maguire, who had given the Nationals leader free accommodation when Mr Joyce's marriage collapsed.

Well here's a bit of news that impressively falls into the categories of both "well, duh" and "wait, what?": Malcolm Turnbull has responded to the Barnaby Joyce scandal by instigating a parliament-wide bonk ban.

He made a public apology to them on Tuesday and defended the two jobs, one for a minister, that Campion was given after she stopped working for him past year.

The saga has made front-page headlines in Australia for days and is an unwanted distraction for MrTurnbull, who is seeking to give renewed momentum to his Liberal-National government that's trailing in opinion polls.

Because Joyce leads a separate political party, Turnbull can't sack him, unless the Nationals do so in a party room coup.

Labor leader Bill Shorten asked the prime minister whether the provision of leave confirmed the deputy prime minister could not do his job.

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