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'Sex affair' rocks Australian government

'Sex affair' rocks Australian government
From Al Jazeera - February 15, 2018

The centre-right government of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been thrown into turmoil after the revelations that his deputy has been entangled in an extra-marital affair, straining the alliance between his Liberal Party and the National Party of Barnaby Joyce.

Joyce will take a break next week rather than step in for the country's leader while the PM is away, as a poll shows his popularity plummeting since admitting to a sex affair with a former staffer.

Joyce, a Catholic who campaigned on "family values" and been married for 24 years, is expecting a child with his former press secretary.

Joyce has so far resisted calls to quit either his seat or his cabinet spot, including a motion that passed the Senate calling for his resignation, since leaving parliament would put the government's narrow one-seat majority at risk.

"The deputy prime minister will be taking leave from Monday ... and accordingly will not be able to be acting prime minister while I am overseas," Turnbull said above loud heckling in parliament.

Joyce's break, while Turnbull travels to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump, comes after an opinion poll showed support for the plain-spoken small-town accountant turned politician had tumbled in his rural electorate.

The percentage of voters backing him crashed to 43 percent, according to the ReachTEL poll published in Fairfax newspapers on Thursday, down from the 63 percent margin he won at a by-election in December.

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