Barnaby Joyce: Scandal-hit Australia deputy PM to resign

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Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has resigned following several weeks of sustained media coverage surrounding his extramarital affair.

Joyce said at a press conference in Armidale, his rural New South Wales seat, that he would step down as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister at a party meeting on Monday.

Joyce, a practising Catholic, has been married for 24 years and has campaigned on family values.

"The current cacophony of issues has to be put aside", Joyce said.

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His resignation came the day after Larry Anthony, federal president of the Nationals, confirmed that Joyce was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint which would be "taken seriously" and treated with "strict confidentiality".

Joyce's resignation comes after Nationals MP Andrew Board yesterday called for his resignation and foreshadowed a leadership spill at next week's Nationals party room meeting in Canberra.

Pressure has been mounting on Mr Joyce ever since it was revealed that he had an affair with his staffer Vikki Campion, who is now his partner.

NATIONALS leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has sensationally stepped down after a tumultuous period in the public eye.

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A spokesman said Joyce believed the claim to be "spurious and defamatory" and had asked for it to be referred to police.

Mr Pitt said his priority was working for his constituents "on announcements and policy, like the cashless debit card, which I've been working tirelessly on to help the vulnerable children in our community".

Then on Thursday, the National Party said it had received a separate, formal complaint against its leader, accusing him of sexual harassment, Australia's national broadcaster ABC reported.

"In Australian politics, disunity is death", Economou said.

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Mr Joyce is now on leave while Mathias Cormann has taken on his top job as Acting Prime Minister in Malcolm Turnbull's absence. But it has also highlighted the perilous state of the coalition government, which just a few months ago survived a crisis over lawmakers' dual citizenship that threatened its wafer-thin parliamentary majority.

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