Australian DPM Barnaby Joyce's resignation may bring short-term relief for PM Turnbull

In a feisty interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, Joyce insisted that he had the support of colleagues, despite the withdrawal of backing from the West Australian Nationals wing.

Barnaby Joyce has resigned as deputy prime minister, more than two weeks after news that he and his former staffer-turned-partner Vikki Campion are expecting a baby.

The leader of the nationals will step down from his position on Monday. "I never tried to be anything else".

The resignation may relieve some pressure on Turnbull, whose ruling Liberal-National coalition has slumped further behind in opinion polls amid the scandal.

Mr Joyce has asked the Nationals to refer the allegations to police.

Twitter users were left baffled by a curious term Mr Joyce - who was briefly evicted from office a year ago over a dual citizenship eligibility saga - used in his resignation speech.

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"He said allegations of wrongdoing should be immediately referred to police so that the veracity of any claim could be properly tested", the spokesman said. "I don't believe any of them have been sustained", Mr Joyce said.

On Wednesday, Joyce told Fairfax Media he would ride out the storm but two days later he said it was "not hard at all" to decide to step down.

Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull have openly attacked each other since news of the deputy prime minister's office affair broke.

Joyce began his political career when he was elected as a senator for Queensland in 2004, and went to become a minister of several portfolios before becoming leader of the conservative National Party in 2016 and Deputy Prime Minister in 2017.

"It's 100 years since Sir John Monash led Australian and American troops into battle, and ever since then Australians and Americans have fought side by side to defend our freedoms, to defend our shared values", Mr Turnbull said.

"One of the priorities that we have here ... is to ensure that our engagement is broader and deeper and goes beyond Washington, New York and Los Angeles and reaches into every part of the United States to create more opportunities for Australian investment and partnership in America", he said.

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As a sexual harassment allegation surfaced, and questions were raised over property Mr Joyce bought along the new inland rail line, but failed to declare, he faced dwindling support from his party.

In fact, people widely misheard what the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"Our statement is self-explanatory, we have communicated that to Barnaby Joyce in an appropriate way".

Cabinet minister Matt Canavan described Joyce as a mate who had helped save the coalition Government from a first-term defeat.

An uncomfortable monument to Mr Joyce's sex life is the remarkable and often mocked "bonk ban" on minister's and staff.

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  • Jill Young