Editorial: Barnaby Joyce must resign as Deputy Prime Minister

I saw the other night comedian Shaun Micallef on the ABC lampooning the latest sex scandal coming out of federal parliament by having his Canberra “correspondent” dressed up like the women in The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid Tale’s as anyone who read the Margaret Atwood book or seen the recent SBS series would know is a dystopian vision of the future where women’s sexual activities are strictly proscribed in the service of the state in an era of low fertility.

While even Mr Micallef is not suggesting that is what is currently going on Canberra, the current goings on would be classified as bad comedy had anyone tried to script it.

And while I have plenty of sympathy for Natalie Joyce who has been betrayed by her husband, it is hard to feel any sympathy with Barnaby Joyce himself no matter what amount of pressure he is under.

Mr Joyce took a strong “no” stance in the recent Same Sex Marriage debate saying of pro-SSM campaigners he could not “stand these people who stand at the corner and start yelling at you about what your views are on a very personal issue, just get out of my face, leave me alone I will make the decision up myself.”

And now another personal issue Barnaby is deeply uncomfortable with.

He literally chose what bed to lie in, and while such activity is normally outside the remit of “the public need to know”, the fact that his lover was appointed a staffer by another senior Nationals minister, Senator Matt Canavan, raises some serious concerns of probity.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s response that ministers should not have sex with staffers raises as many problems as it solves.

Is it Ministers and their own staffers, or ministers and anyone’s staffers? Because if it is the former, than Mr Joyce’s situation would not be covered.

Whatever it is, Mr Joyce is still toast.

He has gone on leave rather than face embarrassing questions as acting prime minister next week while Mr Turnbull is away.

Hopefully that will give him the time to face up to reality.

For once he needs to do the honourable thing and resign his ministry – Derek Barry