Barnaby Joyce Facing Sexual Harassment Allegation
The national party have confirmed that a formal complaint of sexual harassment has been made against Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce.
The allegation was allegedly filed by a woman from Western Australia.
“The Federal Party can confirm a formal complaint has been received,” said Nationals Federal Director Ben Hindmarsh in a statement.
“All complaints are taken seriously and treated with strict confidentiality and given due process.”
Mr Joyce has been made “indirectly aware” of the complaint and a spokesman on behalf of the Deputy PM has since addressed the allegation, describing it as “spurious and defamatory”.
“He said allegations of wrongdoing should be immediately referred to police so that the veracity of any claim could be properly tester,” said the spokesman.
Meantime, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly declined to publicly support his embattled deputy.
Mr Turnbull, speaking to reporters outside the front gates of the White House in Washington DC on Thursday, could not avoid questions about Mr Joyce despite being half a world away from Canberra.
The Prime Minister initially asked reporters to keep their questions about Mr Joyce to the end of the press conference.
When his staff said there was only one question left the prime minister declined to say if he still supported the Nationals leader who's now facing historical allegations of sexual harassment and a potential leadership spill.
"These are matters for the leadership of the National Party," Mr Turnbull eventually answered.
"I've been a great pain to stress that I have not, nor has my party, sought to influence in any way the deliberations of the National party."