SUBJECT/S: Barnaby Joyce.
THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
TUESDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECT/S: Barnaby Joyce.
MARK DREYFUS, SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL: I’m sorry that on the tenth anniversary of the historic apology by Kevin Rudd in 2008 that I have to be here to talk about ministerial standards.
It’s now clear that Mr Turnbull has to explain what he knew and when he knew it about the circumstances of Mr Joyce’s conduct. This goes directly to the matter of ministerial standards. It goes to the ministerial code of conduct.
As late as yesterday, Mr Turnbull was claiming that he knew nothing about the circumstances of Mr Joyce’s relationship with a member of staff. Today reports have emerged that Mr Turnbull in August last year was telling members of the Liberal Party that he knew something of this affair. It goes directly to whether or not the ministerial code of conduct has been complied with. That ministerial code of conduct requires, on its face, requires that the Prime Minister approve when staffing positions are given to partners. There’s been a torturous interpretation offered by the Liberal Party of what this code of conduct actually means. It seems that the purpose of that torturous explanation is to get Mr Turnbull as far away from this matter as possible. But Mr Turnbull has now given inconsistent stories. He needs to explain exactly what he knew and when he knew it. So does Mr Joyce need to explain fully the circumstances.
JOURNALIST: So you think it’s inconceivable that Malcolm Turnbull wouldn’t have known about this?
DREYFUS: I’m going on reports that have emerged today in the media that Mr Turnbull was telling Liberal Party Members of Parliament in August last year what he knew about the circumstances of this affair.
JOURNALIST: There are obviously latest revelations in the papers today. Mr Joyce is saying that these are false and defamatory and that he may be delivering a statement to Parliament. Do you think that could be enough to sort this issue out?
DREYFUS: Obviously if he does make a statement to Parliament, what he says in that statement, but clearly there are issues about whether it’s tenable for him to continue in his position. There are certainly issues about whether it is tenable for him to occupy the position of Acting Prime Minister while Mr Turnbull is overseas next week.
JOURNALIST: That was going to be my next question. Does that issue need to be resolved by the end of this week, as to whether or not he should be in the role of Acting Prime Minister, and do you think that is likely to happen, that he would stand down from his role as Nationals Leader?
DREYFUS: Obviously it needs to be resolved. Acting Prime Minister is an extraordinarily important position and it’s hard to believe that Mr Joyce could do justice to that position given the distractions that he’s now enduring.