Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce is to quit his role and the Deputy Prime Ministership after being accused of sexual harassment.
The harassment allegation emerged overnight when Mr Joyce was already under attack from his own party
Nationals MP Andrew Broad had called for Joyce to step down from his role after revealing his party branch had voted that it could no longer support him. He planned to call for a vote at a Nationals meeting on Monday.
In an emotional statement to the media Mr Joyce pre-empted that move, saying he had no choice but to stand down to clear the air around the Deputy Prime Ministership while he fought the allegations of harassment. He said he would deny all allegations and again regretted that his personal life had been dragged into the national political arena.
The Monday meeting will now open with Mr Joyce’s resignation after which the Nationals’ parliamentary caucus will vote for a replacement as Leader.
The National Party has confirmed that a harassment complaint had been lodged and would be considered in accordance with party procedure. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, declined to comment on the complaint because it was a “Nationals issue”.
It appears the harassment complaint had been lodged only with the Party. Mr Joyce indicated that he would like the complaint referred on to the police so they could formally resolve the issue. – Aidan Fedorow
Top screengrab taken from a Barnaby Joyce press conference last week.