Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Barnaby Joyce has issued a searing rebuke to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, saying yesterday’s statements regarding Joyce’s affair scandal were “in many instances inept” and “unnecessary.”

Addressing reporters outside Parliament House, Joyce focussed on his Coalition partner’s assessment that Joyce’s affair with former media advisor Vikki Campion “set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us.”

“I would not wish on friend nor foe the hurt, the scrutiny, the intense intrusion into your lives that I have gone through in this process,” Joyce said.

“And I think it’s something that has to be managed with the greatest deftness.”

In yesterday’s announcement that the Ministerial Code of Conduct will be changed to enact a so-called ‘bonk ban’ prohibiting politicians from engaging in sexual relations with staffers, Turnbull further chastised Joyce by referencing “the need for [parliamentarians] to always behave in their personal relations with others… with integrity and respect.”

In response, Joyce said “I have to say that in many instances [Turnbull’s statement] caused further harm. I believe [his comments] were in many instances inept, and most definitely in many instances unnecessary.”

“All it does is reinvest in the hurt that is felt by other people,” he added.

The Member for New England said Turnbull’s comments needlessly relitigated a scandal which had already become public knowledge, and “basically, once more, pull the scab off for everyone to have a look at.”

Joyce also took aim at insinuations that he should step down from his position over the distraction he had caused, saying that since the Nationals does not make leadership calls for the Liberals, the same should be expected in return.

He reiterated that as he still enjoys the majority of party support, he will not be ceding the leadership, but will attempt to mend the bridge the divide caused by the scandal.

“I’m intending to make sure that like all relationships, this relationship gets back onto an even keel,” Joyce said.

Joyce is expecting a child with Campion, and faced the dissolution of his marriage of 24 years to Natalie Joyce at the time of his affair. Questions have also been raised about Joyce’s use of taxpayer funds for travel and accomodation at the time of the affair. Joyce has vehemently denied the alleged misappropriation of parliamentary allowances.

Source: ABC
Image: Getty Images / [Photographer name]