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Senior Nats senator backs Joyce as leader

12 February 2018

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has denied he drunkenly pinched a woman's bottom after the accusation was made public seven years after it is alleged to have occurred.

The ABC has been told Mr Joyce returned a small amount of taxpayer money after he used a rental auto to return to a holiday with Ms Campion.

"The distribution of those staff members between Nationals' offices is a matter for the National Party", he said.

Asked by Bill Shorten if Mr Joyce would serve as Acting PM and whether he retained the Prime Minister's full confidence, Mr Turnbull replied: "Yes to both questions".

Mrs Joyce revealed her shock and pain following Mr Joyce and his former senior media advisor's pregnancy revelation in a candid statement to The Australian.

O'Sullivan said that the Nationals base had expressed disappointment and frustration at Joyce's behaviour.

"I just think the sun is setting on his career, and I can't see how he can survive".

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce's career is "over" according to prominent media commentator Nikki Savva.

"We're now starting to see in Australia rather serious threats and not just pretend threats - and that's just an incredible disappointment for all of us", he said. A year ago he spearheaded the backbench Nationals move that led to the government capitulating to pressure for a royal commission into the banks, which commenced on Monday.

The pair will be reportedly living rent-free for six months - saving a whopping $14,000 - in the New England property owned by businessman Greg Maguire, reports.

Joyce moved out of his Tamworth family home in December and later moved into a townhouse he now shares with Ms Campion.

Turnbull and his office struggled on Monday to avoid being ensnared, as questions were put about the movement of Campion, who was shifted to the office of Resources Minister Matt Canavan after her relationship with Joyce started to cause problems in his office.

When asked about Ms Plibersek's comments, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, "people in glass houses". "Do we want to chip away at him until he's gone?"

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has called on the coalition to be transparent about her job trajectory after the relationship with Mr Joyce became known within government circles past year.

Natalie Joyce said she felt "deceived" by the news that Ms Campion is pregnant with her husband's fifth child and claimed the relationship began when she was a paid staffer.

"For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years, who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life".

Outspoken Queensland Nationals senator Barry O'Sullivan has declared Barnaby Joyce is a "once-in-a-generation type of politician" who remains a big asset to the Nationals despite the sharp grassroots' reaction to his affair with his former staffer.

Photos obtained by Daily Mail Australia show the pair looking happy together nearly a year before Mr Joyce's marriage break up and affair was revealed.

Senior Nats senator backs Joyce as leader