Local News

Malcolm Turnbull says Barnaby Joyce made the right decision to resign as Deputy Prime Minister

“I think he’s taken the right decision.”

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has broken his silence on Barnaby Joyce's decision to resign as deputy prime minister and Nationals leader.
Speaking at an unscheduled press conference outside Blair House, where Mr Turnbull's travelling party is staying while in Washington, Mr Turnbull thanked Mr Joyce for his service without sharing any parting words of warmth.
"This is really a very personal matter for Barnaby, he has to deal as he said with some personal issues, he's got to deal with a complaint that's been made about him and as he said he believes he cannot do that from the despatch box," Mr Turnbull said.
"I think he's taken the right decision, the judgement that he's made in resigning I think is the right one for himself and his family."
Mr Turnbull went on to reject claims of "bad blood" between the Nationals and Liberal Party over the scandal surrounding Mr Joyce.
"You may well assert that but I do not accept it or agree with it," the Prime Minister said. "The Coalition between the National Party and the Liberal Party is strong and enduring. The issues that have been the subject of public discussion over the last two weeks have not been issues between Nationals and Liberals. We have a 95-year-old political alliance, the longest in Australian history, and it is absolutely enduring."
He also said that he's looking forward to working alongside his successor, who will be elected on Monday.
Mr Joyce resigned on Friday following weeks of speculation surrounding his relationship with former staffer, Vikki Campion, who is expecting their child in April -- an affair which led to the breakdown of his 24-year marriage.
"Can I say right from the start, this is never about me," he stated in a press conference. " It's about the person in the weatherboard, something that manifestly expressed what the National Party is about."
"I am so humbled to have been the deputy PM of this country… Over the last half a month, a litany of allegations and might I say right here … the leaking background will destroy my government – it will destroy any government…"
WATCH: Mr Joyce publicly apologises to his wife, his daughters and his pregnant partner. Post continues...
He went on to say that the decision was made in the hopes of giving his party "clean air" and added that he'll have much more than politics to worry about in a few months' time.
"In April a baby will be born and I will have other things on my mind," he said.
He also stated that resigning will be a "circuit breaker for Vikki, a circuit breaker for my unborn child and my daughters."
Mr Joyce said that while he is stepping down from his role as leader of the National Party, he will continue to play a role in politics as a member for New England "without a shadow of a doubt," as well as pen a book.