Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announced that the ministerial code of conduct will be amended to explicitly prohibit sexual relations between Ministers and their staff. The problem? It doesn’t actually fix the problem that the people have with Joyce.
The scandal concerning the affair of Turnbull’s deputy only remains relevant almost a fortnight later due to details that came to light after the story, only reported when relevant by Independent Australia, got mainstream attention through Sharri Markson’s reporting on the front page of the Telegraph. The fact that Barnaby Joyce’s Nationals colleagues both knew about the affair and said nothing but also gave Joyce’s mistress six-figure jobs and seemed to be complicit in a cover-up of the relationship that enabled Joyce to misrepresent himself to the public as a family-oriented father of four. It’s the fact that a rich lobbyist is suspiciously giving Joyce and partner a lavish apartment rent-free that keeps this story relevant. It’s the fact that both Coalition parties, despite seemingly losing confidence in Joyce continue to allow him to be Deputy PM. It’s the fact that Joyce will be on fully paid Personal Leave so that he isn’t Acting Prime Minister when Turnbull meets Il Duce in Washington next week, making this scandal similar to the scandal involving embattled Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg – who has been on paid leave for the better part of a year after he used his position to give a job to his then-mistress. It’s the fact that the Government either fails to see or ignores that the problem with Joyce’s affair has little to do with the affair itself and everything to do with the corrupt behaviour of the Government in the lead up to and the aftermath of the allegations that keeps this scandal in the public consciousness.