Kieran Gilbert: Barnaby Joyce not going anywhere yet

Workplace relationships between a boss and subordinate should be declared early say experts

But there are others within the National Party who think he should resign.

More Nationals have spoken out in defence of their leader today.

Nationals believe the frontrunner to replace Joyce would be Michael McCormack, although lacks a public profile.

Mr Joyce has denied breaching the ministerial code of conduct, which says frontbenchers can not employ close relatives or partners or get them work in other ministerial offices "without the prime minister's express approval".

"I'm over in Kuwait (this week) with back-to-back meetings from very early in the morning to late at night and focusing on Australia's military intervention and humanitarian contribution to Iraq so it's not a matter that I'm focusing on", she told ABC radio on Wednesday.

Mr O'Dowd confirmed to journalists this morning that Mr Joyce "needs the advice" and "someone needs to tell him where the party stands". A majority of New England voters - 55.1 per cent - have told a ReachTEL poll they agree or strongly agree the media was justified in publishing details about Mr Joyce's relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion, who is now pregnant.

Nationals president Larry Anthony is in Canberra to deal with the crisis, which he called a "very hard time" for the party.

"I am not interested in talking about that, people get sick and exhausted of hearing about these internal games".

Another Nationals lawmaker, David Littleproud, said there was "no leadership issue" and the media was "titillated" by the story.

Australian deputy prime minister underneath stress to resign
Mr Joyce has denied that he asked Mr Maguire to pay the rent on the Armidale home after he separated from his wife of 24 years. Mr Joyce will take a leave of absence from Monday amid scrutiny over whether he breached ministerial standards.

Nationals whip Michelle Landry also backed Mr Joyce, saying "Barnaby will remain our leader".

Asked what she had to say to the women in the party, she said: "Look, there is an unease I think for all of us, looking at this as a woman". She said he had delivered for regional Australia, there was no evidence of wrongdoing in relation to staff appointments, and "we need to give him a fair go".

And nearly 50 per cent of respondents in Mr Joyce's electorate think their MP should move to the backbench or resign from Parliament altogether, as the repercussions from his personal crisis hit home.

Bill Shorten is ramping up the pressure on Malcolm Turnbull to sack Barnaby Joyce, accusing him of breaching ministerial standards.

"He is clearly the best retail politician they've got".

"The deputy prime minister is on leave next week after he advised the prime minister he wanted to support his family and partner after such intense public focus on personal matters", Mr Joyce's office said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was prepared to cancel her travel plans and fill the role instead if Mr Joyce stepped aside. "If circumstances change then of course I would change my plans, but that's not my understanding".

Joyce said he did not break any rules because Ms Campion was not his "partner" at the time.

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