Barnaby Joyce is more determined to stay on as Nationals leader as a result of Malcolm Turnbull’s public excoriation of his affair with his former staffer Vikki Campion, Fairfax Media understands.
Mr Turnbull said Mr Joyce would have to “consider his position” during a leave of absence that the Prime Minister said he had “encouraged” the Member for New England to take.
Mr Joyce is understood to consider Mr Turnbull’s public scolding extraordinary given he has been one of the Prime Minister’s public backers at times when there has been pressure on his leadership to the government’s performance in opinion polls. It is understood Mr Turnbull’s condemnation has only made him more determined to stay on his position.
Nationals MPs are also said to be furious at the public dressing-down, which they see as the Liberal party’s way of trying to force the Nationals leader out after an insurrection against Mr Joyce during the week failed.
During his press conference on Thursday to announce the ban on ministers having sex with their staff, Mr Turnbull said he accepted that Mr Joyce had not breached any ministerial entitlements or standards and “the real issue” was the “terrible hurt and humiliation” he had caused his wife, four daughters and new partner.
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