To see the full press conference
BARNABY Joyce has resigned as leader of the Nationals Party.
He addressed media in his electorate for the first time on Friday since the scandal broke.
“This was never about me, it’s about the person on weatherboard and iron,” Mr Joyce said.
He blamed a litany of sexual harassment allegations against him for forcing him to step down.
“It’s quite obvious you can’t go to the dispatch box with issues like that surrounding you,” Mr Joyce said.
“What I will say is that on Monday morning at the party room I will step down as the leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.”
Thanking the people of New England for their support, Mr Joyce said he would still stand in the next election.
Fairfax Media asked Mr Joyce if he thought he would still have the favour of voters, given his decision not to campaign in the New England by-election and his scarcity since.
“I don’t deserve the support that you’ve given me,” he said.
“Without a shadow of a doubt I’m staying as the Member for New England.”
Mr Joyce said he will not make an endorsement for his replacement.
But, he hopes he will be remembered in the same way he started, as a small town boy from Woolbrook.
“I fought for the person in the weatherboard and iron, the person in the periphery,” Mr Joyce said.
“I acknowledge that in many aspects I’m rough around the edges, I’ve never tried to be anything else.”
Taking the opportunity to publicly apologise to former-staffer and partner Vikki Campion, Mr Joyce condemned the behaviour of the media once his affair hit the public sphere.
“I thought that’s not the kind of people we are in Australia," he said.
“On a humorous side I think it’s got to stop for the poor buggers that parked outside my house everyday, it’s got to stop for them.
“They need to go home.”
Those that leaked information to the media were also called out at the press conference in Armidale.
“It will destroy not just our government, it will destroy any government,” Mr Joyce said.
Nationals whip Michelle Landry will hold the much-anticipated party meeting on Monday.
It’s then that Mr Joyce will step down as leader.