Barnaby Joyce Takes Leave Amidst Accusations Of Misconduct
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will be taking leave next week and won't stand in as the nation's leader while Malcolm Turnbull is away.
The Prime Minister told parliament that leave had been approved for February 19 to 25.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will be acting prime minister during the period.
Mr Joyce has been under fire since his relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion - now pregnant with his child - was revealed.
Labor says Mr Joyce has questions to answer about $5000 of taxpayers' money being paid to a friend's business.
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus asked Mr Joyce in parliament whether he was aware of a $5000 payment to a hotel owned by Greg Maguire, the same businessman friend who provided Mr Joyce with a rent-free townhouse in Armidale.
"I have to admit I was unaware of that $5000 payment," Mr Joyce told parliament on Thursday, pledging to take the question on notice.
Mr Dreyfus said the Deputy Prime Minister attended the $5000 event hosted by the hotel, but again Mr Joyce rejected any knowledge.
"It would not seem surprising in a multiple-billion-dollar department that I'm not aware of a $5000 payment," Mr Joyce said.