Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced in Parliament that Barnaby Joyce will take a leave of absence and won't be acting Prime Minister next week while he travels overseas.
In a press conference on Thursday, Mr Turnbull said Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce had "set off a world of woe" when he chose to have an affair with former media advisor and now-pregnant Vikki Campion.
"I think we know that the real issue is the terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby, by his conduct, has visited upon his wife, Natalie, and their daughters and, indeed, his new partner," he said.
"Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office. In doing so, he has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us. Our hearts go out to them."
"Now, Barnaby knows he made that shocking error of judgment. He knows that he let down his wife and daughters. And he has apologised for that, and to them. And he is taking leave next week and I have encouraged him to take that leap. He needs that leave. He needs that time to reflect. He needs that time to seek forgiveness and understanding from his life and girls, he needs to make a new home for his partner and their baby, who is coming in April."
The role will instead be taken up by Mathias Cormann, the government's leader in the Senate.
Mr Turnbull also announced plans to change the Ministerial Code of Conduct to forbid Ministers from having sexual relations with staff.
"Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with staff," he said.
"I am not here to moralise," he continued. "But, we must recognise that whatever may have been acceptable or to which a blind eye was turned in the past, today, in 2018, it is not acceptable for a minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them. It is a very bad workplace practice."
According to Fairfax Media, Mr Joyce is now more determined to stay on as Nationals leader as a result of the public dressing-down.
Mr Joyce, 50, has publicly apologised to his wife, his daughters and his pregnant partner for the "hurt" his actions have caused.
"I want to say, to Natalie, I'm deeply sorry for all the hurt this has caused. To my girls, how deeply sorry I am, for all the hurt it has caused them," he said outside parliament house.
"To Vikki Campion, how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this."
He also apologised to his "supporters" that the "deeply personal issue" has shifted into the public sphere.
Ms Campion, 33, worked as Mr Joyce's media advisor before she moved into a more senior role with Resources Minister Matt Canavan in April last year.
The mother-to-be then joined the office of Nationals chief parliamentary whip Damian Drum, before losing her job when Mr Drum moved from his role to become the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.
She is yet to speak publicly about the scandal.