BARNABY Joyce isn't the only minister having an affair with a staff member, Conservative party founder Cory Bernardi has claimed today.

In fact, there is a "culture" of sex between ministers and underlings, he said, in comments which could launch greater examination of ministerial private lives.

Mr Bernardi, a prominent Liberal until he quit to form his own party, would not name the frontbenchers who would be risking their jobs if they defied the new official ban on office romances.

He told ABC Radio there was "a culture problem where people think this is OK".

The senator also praised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for "laying down the law" with a warning that ministers will be sacked if they have sex with staff.

However, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has added to suggestions she is not comfortable with the so-called "bonking ban" imposed by the PM.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, pictured with his girlfriend and former staffer Vikki Campion, who is pregnant with his child.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, pictured with his girlfriend and former staffer Vikki Campion, who is pregnant with his child.

Currently in London, Ms Bishop said there should not be a media open season on ministers' private lives.

"I believe there are aspects of politicians lives that are private and should be kept private," she said.

Mr Bernardi backed the processes of the Australian military in such situations.

"Where there is a relationship within the chain of command, either the chain of command ceases or the relationship ceases," he said.

"That would be common sense to me."

He continued: "Most people would say it's inappropriate to have sexual relations with a staff member and they would temper their activities accordingly.

"However, we know there are circumstances where that hasn't occurred and the Prime Minister has said this is absolutely wrong and it can't continue."

The revelations saw Mr Joyce apologise to his wife Natalie, daughters and Ms Campion, but refuse to stand down over the saga.

My Joyce pictured in happier times with wife Natalie and daughters (from left to right) Odette, Caroline, Julia, and Bridgette Picture: Facebook
My Joyce pictured in happier times with wife Natalie and daughters (from left to right) Odette, Caroline, Julia, and Bridgette Picture: Facebook

Mrs Joyce previously told the Daily Telegraph of the "hurt" she suffered at learning about the affair and pregnancy.

However she has reportedly said she wants her husband to keep his job, despite the pain his affair has caused the family

UNHEALTHY WORKPLACES

It wouldn't be the first time Canberra's work culture has come under the spotlight.

In a radio interview last week, ousted Labor star Sam Dastyari revealed how the late-night, alcohol-fuelled work culture creates "the amount of rooting" taking place in Canberra.

"The reality is, the amount of rooting that goes on in a place like Canberra," he told KIIS 106.5's Kyle & Jackie O.

"In terms of unhealthy workplaces, it's one of the most unhealthy workplaces in the country."

Asked if there were a lot of people sleeping with each other in Canberra, he replied: "Of course."

Barnaby Joyce and his wife Natalie arriving at the federal Parliament Midwinter Ball 2017, at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Ray Strange
Barnaby Joyce and his wife Natalie arriving at the federal Parliament Midwinter Ball 2017, at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Ray Strange

He also said it was happening more on the conservative side of politics than on the left.

Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull said he plans to further overhaul the culture of federal Parliament in the wake of his controversial sex ban.

The PM told 60 Minutes he was disappointed over the Joyce affair and had "drawn a line in the sand" and demanded an end to the "boys club" culture of Canberra.

He also said he discussed the ban with his own wife Lucy who "absolutely agrees" with it.

JOYCE LAMPOONED

The scandal hasn't only made headlines in Australia but has made news overseas as well.

Satirist and TV host John Oliver took down the Deputy Prime Minister on his US show Last Week Tonight.

Oliver pointed out that Mr Joyce had opposed gay marriage in Australia due to his belief in traditional family values.

"You might think that that is hypocritical, but in reality Joyce has such incredible family values that he can't restrict them to just one family," he joked.

"The Australian media has understandably jumped on this story like a Deputy Prime Minister with a wife and four children jumping on his 33-year-old former media adviser."


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