No Sex for You: Lawmakers Banned from Sexual Relations with Staff

A man lifts a young woman in his arms while an older women looks on unsympathetically in a scene from 'Gay Love' at the Lyric Theatre, London. (Photo by Sasha/Getty Images)
Sasha/Getty Images

Australian government ministers have been banned from having sex with their staff after the country’s deputy leader was exposed as having an affair that left a former aide pregnant and the conservative coalition government in disarray.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the amendment to the ministerial code of conduct and announced it at an extraordinary press conference in Canberra. ABC News reports that public dressing down saw him attack his own deputy Barnaby Joyce over the “terrible hurt and humiliation” he caused to his wife and four children by the affair.

“Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office,” Mr. Turnbull said. “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. It has been a dreadful thing for them to go through in the glare of publicity.”

For his part, Mr. Joyce is taking time off to spend more time with his family and pregnant partner after the intense public focus that followed the initial revelations by the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Mr. Joyce is best known internationally for his threat in 2015 to kill Pistol and Boo, the pet dogs of Jonny Depp and Amber Heard, after the pair smuggled the pets into Australia. The pair appeared at court, where Heard faced charges, and eventually apologised.

“I think he needs that time, he needs that time to reflect, he needs that time to seek forgiveness and understanding from his wife and girls,” Mr. Turnbull said, before adding. “He needs to make a new home for his partner and their baby that is coming in April.”

The rewritten Australian parliamentary code of ministerial standards has come into immediate effect, with Mr. Turnbull saying he did not care if ministers were married or single, they must not have sexual relations with each other or their staffers.

He told his ministers they needed to recognise that behaviour that was once tolerated is now seen as unacceptable.

“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 and everybody knows that no good comes of it,” he said. “This is the standard that I will hold — from this day forth — all my ministers to.”

Mr. Turnbull said politicians had to accept giving up some privacy in order to maintain a higher standard of probity in the eyes of the public.

“We have to recognise that here in this place we have such important responsibilities and we don’t, in practical terms, have the privacy that many others do, we have to acknowledge that we must have a higher standard,” he said.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com

 

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.