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Australia PM bans sex between ministers and staff

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Staff Writer | February 15, 2018
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull banned sex between ministers and staff and rounded on his deputy for a “shocking error of judgment” by having an affair with a press secretary.
Malcolm Turnbull
Australia   A “shocking error of judgment”
Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a Catholic who campaigned on “family values” and married for 24 years, is expecting a child with his former staffer in April.

Turnbull denounced the affair at a press conference in Canberra after a week in which the scandal threw his centre-right government into turmoil and strained the alliance between his Liberal Party and Joyce’s National Party.

He stopped short of sacking Joyce, which would have put the government’s narrow one-seat majority at risk were he expelled from parliament.

But Turnbull said the scandal had prompted overdue changes to ministerial conduct rules, and announced new standards broadly similar to a ban on relationships between lawmakers and staffers adopted last week by U.S Congress.

“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. And everybody knows that no good comes of it,” he said.