Australian Deputy Prime Minister Joyce's Resignation Prompts Twitter Uproar

"It's absolutely important that there be a circuit breaker not only for the parliament but a circuit breaker for Vikki, for my unborn child, for my daughters and for Nat", he said, then joked about the camera crews that were now waiting outside his house. "It's not fair on them". "I don't believe any of them have been sustained", Joyce said.

The scandal has dominated Australian headlines for over two weeks.

"It is the view of the Parliamentary National Party of Western Australia that Mr Joyce's position as a Federal Leader is no longer tenable".

The ruling forced Mr Turnbull to postpone a trip overseas to deal with the fall out, but Mr Joyce was re-elected to his seat in a by-election on December 3.

Twitter users were left baffled by a curious term Mr Joyce - who was briefly evicted from office previous year over a dual citizenship eligibility saga - used in his resignation speech.

The "current cacophony of issues", as he put it, means he has to retreat from the deputy prime ministership.

"I will say on Monday morning at the party room I will step down as the leader of the National Party and deputy leader of Australia", Joyce said at the press conference.

Last Friday Joyce returned fire saying Turnbull's comments were "inept" and caused his family "further harm".

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The deal means A2 Milk Company's fresh products will become more available in New Zealand and Australian shops. a2's Australian listed shares surged 30% to $11.30 in the wake of the half year result and Fonterra deal.

As a sexual harassment allegation surfaced, and questions were raised over property Mr Joyce bought along the new inland rail line, but failed to declare, he faced dwindling support from his party. No details have emerged.

He had asked that the allegation, which he denies, be referred to the police. But he said it prompted him to finally resign. "I think he needs that time, he needs that time to reflect, he needs that time to seek forgiveness and understanding from his wife and girls", Turnbull said. "The leaking, the backgrounding, it'll not only destroy our government, it'd destroy any government".

The couple, who are now divorced, were accused of not declaring their dogs to customs officials when they flew into Queensland by private jet.

Mr Joyce will remain in Parliament as a backbencher.

But it appears the latest claim, which appears to have leaked from onside his party, became the tipping point that led to his decision.

Soon after the announcement the Prime Minister's office issued a statement thanking Mr Joyce for his service as a "fierce advocate for rural and regional Australia".

Although a poll showed most Australians agreed with what social media dubbed the "bonk ban", some members of Turnbull's center-right Liberal Party and other government ministers were uncomfortable with what essentially ended an unwritten convention that politicians' sex lives are never discussed publicly.

  • Sonia Alvarado