Alright, everyone, breathe a sigh of relief: Barnaby Joyce will not be Acting Prime Minister when Malcolm Turnbull is out of the country next week.

The embattled (scandal-hit?) Deputy Prime Minister is on leave, following multiple damning reports detailing an affair, a pregnancy, and a total misuse of power, all of which would be a bit fucking much for an episode of House of Cards let alone our very real government that we elected and stuff.

Turnbull announced it himself today in Question Time, saying that he’ll taking “personal leave” until Sunday 25 February.

Joyce’s office later confirmed that he was taking the leave to “support his family and partner after such intense public focus on personal matters.”

Reminder, the “personal matters” in question are: having an affair with his staffer, getting her pregnant, leaving his family, shacking up with the staffer in a rent-free apartment, and securing a highly a paid ministerial job for her that smacks of shadiness.

As Julie Bishop will also be out of the country next, the acting Prime Minister next week will instead be Finance Minister (and Senate leader) Mathias Cormann.

It’s raised questions as whether Joyce is in any way capable of doing his damn job, if he, as Deputy, can’t even fill in for the Prime Minister.

“Doesn’t the prime minister’s announcement just before Question Time about the arrangements of who will be acting prime minister confirm that the deputy prime minister cannot do his job?” asked / shouted Bill Shorten during Question Time. “Or are we simply meant to believe it’s all a big coincidence?”

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“It does not,” replied Turnbull curtly, before calling time on Question Time.

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Joyce remains under intense pressure to quit, so at least he has a week now to figure his shit out, I guess?

Image: Getty Images / Michael Masters