Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

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jserraglio
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Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:53 pm

New York Times

SYDNEY, Australia — Sex between Australia’s government ministers and their subordinates is now prohibited, a ban that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Thursday after a political scandal involving the deputy prime minister and a former staff member who is now pregnant.
In his first news conference since the scandal, known as #barnababy, began more than a week ago, Mr. Turnbull said that Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister, had made “a shocking error of judgment” in having an affair with a woman who had worked for him.
“In doing so, he has set off a world of woe” for the women involved, Mr. Turnbull said, including Mr. Joyce’s wife and daughters.
Mr. Turnbull said that government ministers, whether married or single, must lead by example and not be romantically involved with staff members.
“Ministers must recognize that while they are entitled to privacy in personal matters, they occupy positions of great responsibility and public trust,” he said in announcing an overhaul of ministerial conduct rules. “The public have high expectations of them in terms of their personal conduct and decorum.”
The prime minister’s statement reflects a turbulent week in Parliament in which the culture of Australian politics has been called into question. The prime minister stopped short of asking Mr. Joyce to resign but said he was going on leave.
Mr. Joyce will also no longer serve as acting prime minister during Mr. Turnbull’s White House visit next week, a decision that critics said suggested the prime minister had lost confidence in him. The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, will step in instead.
Mr. Turnbull had appeared to resist the idea of a formal ban when it was suggested last week by Cathy McGowan, an independent politician. But on Thursday he said that the five-year-old code of ministerial conduct did not adequately reflect modern workplace values.
“We must recognize that whatever may have been acceptable or to which a blind eye was turned in the past, today, in 2018, it is not acceptable for a minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them,” Mr. Turnbull said. “It is a very bad workplace practice.”
Ms. McGowan said on Thursday that although she welcomed the prime minister’s announcement, the government should consider a code of conduct for all those who work in Parliament.
Mr. Joyce, 50, on Tuesday acknowledged his relationship with Vikki Campion, his former media adviser. Though he has spent much of the past week offering remorse to his family, he has denied ministerial misconduct and refused to resign.
Mr. Turnbull said it was up to Mr. Joyce whether to step down. If he does, Mr. Turnbull’s coalition government will lose its one-seat parliamentary majority.
The Australian tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported the affair last week alongside a photograph of a pregnant Ms. Campion, fueling a fierce debate about privacy, sex and the news media.
Sharri Markson, the national political editor at the newspaper, said she had been surprised by the initial pushback from other news outlets on whether the story was in the public interest.
The debate has since grown to include questions about gender and abuse of power.
“The Australian media in particular has protected politicians from this sort of exposure for many years,” Ms. Markson said.

Belle
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Re: Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

Post by Belle » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:40 pm

This affair and its aftermath have both caused controversy. The Deputy PM was spruiking family values in the recent Same Sex marriage national vote and it appears he had abandoned his wife and four daughters! Australians don't like hypocrites, myself included, irrespective of the merits of either case in our SSM debates. The man is 51 and will have effectively lost not only his wife but the respect of his 4 daughters and he is significantly diminished as a public figure. One of his 'punishments', apart from losing his gig as Deputy PM, will be to have a toddler around his ankles at the age of 53!! And a teenager in his sixties. That's fair!! :lol:

The Deputy has to go to the 'back benches' on this one and I'll provide another reason for it beyond what I've said and the fact that it's such a bad look!! My son is a senior adviser at an extremely high level in our government. As such he has access to sensitive information shared with his boss. There is a great deal of trust between my son and his boss and let me assure you that is extremely rare in politics. If my son was a female and had an affair with his boss the confidential information is exposed to additional a risk. Imagine, if you will, that the romance sours and the adviser feels aggrieved. And because 'pillow talk' commonly results in further private thoughts the potential for something NOT to be in the public interest through whistle-blowing/back-grounding the media is extremely high. For the sake of public confidence, then, there should always be a professional distance between adviser and minister. Nothing passes my son's lips about his job.

At a function late last year my son's boss told the gathering (including members of the media) that he was the best such adviser in the Australian government. I only learned this later via text message from my prospective daughter-in-law, such is my son's complete lack of ego and unwillingness to put himself in the spotlight. Four weeks today he will be married and there will be some politicians at that wedding, including his boss and a security detail. We should all feel very safe!!!

jserraglio
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Re: Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:33 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:40 pm
For the sake of public confidence, then, there should always be a professional distance between adviser and minister.
Imagine if you will, a head of state of a powerful country (he shall remain nameless) who retains his daughter and son-in-law as two of his closest advisers, neither one having permanent national security clearance. Then imagine further that this leader were to delegate his son-in-law to read in his stead his daily national security briefing.

Of course, this is pure imagination.

Belle
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Re: Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

Post by Belle » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:37 pm

Or a President having his brother as Attorney General? As you said, pure imagination!

jserraglio
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Re: Aussie govt. ministers barred from romancing staffers after woman turns up pregnant

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:05 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:37 pm
Or a President having his brother as Attorney General? As you said, pure imagination!
Now let's imagine a young WW II vet, a skilled investigator serving as general counsel to several Senate committees including the important Rackets Committee where he confronted Teamster mobster boss Jimmy Hoffa, whose counsel as AG helped the world avert nuclear war, who worked to pass the most significant civil-rights laws since the Civil War, who was elected senator in his own right, and who as a presidential candidate gave his life for his country.

It happened.

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