Tell Joyce to go, Shorten tells PM
Bill Shorten is ramping up the pressure on Malcolm Turnbull to sack Barnaby Joyce, accusing him of breaching ministerial standards.
The call comes after the deputy prime minister appeared to ward off a push on Wednesday by a small number of Nationals to oust him.
"I've got the support of my party room, we're back into business, we're working hard doing what we're supposed to do," Mr Joyce told reporters as he arrived at Parliament House on Thursday.
The Nationals leader's relationship with his pregnant partner Vikki Campion has raised concerns about the potential misuse of taxpayer funds, after she was shuffled around jobs in other senior MPs' offices.
A rent-free townhouse provided to him by a multi-millionaire businessman friend - which he declared on his members' interests register - has also been the focus of Labor attacks.
"I don't think Mr Joyce's position is tenable," Mr Shorten told reporters.
"I think that Prime Minister Turnbull has to act."
The Labor leader said the matter wasn't Mr Joyce's private life, but conflicts of interest that were coming out daily.
"The prime minister has a ministerial code of conduct which if he doesn't uphold is not worth the paper it's written on."
Labor has demanded to see the details of taxpayer-funded flights Mr Joyce, 50, and Ms Campion, 33, took in 2017 - setting a deadline of 5pm Thursday for the release of documents.
It's understood the government has conceded there's a backlog in tabling these reports and is likely to produce them quickly.
Labor's call comes as a ReachTEL poll for Fairfax shows nearly half of voters in his electorate believe he should resign from parliament or sit on the backbench.
Forty per cent surveyed said they were less inclined to vote for him after hearing about the relationship, but one in four said they would be "more likely" to.
Malcolm Turnbull and senior Nationals on Wednesday expressed confidence in Mr Joyce, despite a handful of his party's MPs agitating for him to consider his future.
The prime minister reaffirmed his deputy would act for him while he visited the White House next week.
Mr Joyce has denied breaching the ministerial code of conduct, which says frontbenchers cannot employ close relatives or partners or get them work in other ministerial offices "without the prime minister's express approval".
He argues Ms Campion was not his partner when she worked in his and Matt Canavan's office. Damian Drum was not a minister when she transferred to his office.
Ms Campion is due to give birth in mid-April.
Mr Joyce late last year separated from his wife Natalie after 24 years of marriage.
© AAP 2018
Image credit: AAP Image/Lukas Coch