Turnbull expresses confidence in Joyce

Malcolm Turnbull says he still has confidence in embattled Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.
Malcolm Turnbull says he still has confidence in embattled Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull continues to have confidence in Barnaby Joyce as the Nationals leader faces questions over the appointment of his lover to government jobs last year.

Asked by Labor leader Bill Shorten on Tuesday whether he retained confidence in Mr Joyce, Mr Turnbull said: "Yes."

Answering a second question, Mr Turnbull said all ministers were bound by the standards code and Mr Joyce had explained his circumstances in a statement.

"The facts of the relationship which you're referring to are of course known to the deputy prime minister.

"It is his responsibility to address it and comply with the standards. And he's answered that, he's addressed that in his statement today."

Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who was one of the National MPs who hired Vikki Campion, told parliament the job was organised in consultations between his office and the deputy prime minister's office.

"I had no knowledge of the relationship between Mr Joyce and Ms Campion at the time," said Senator Canavan - who was Mr Joyce's chief of staff before entering parliament.

"And as he (Mr Joyce) has said in his statement this morning, she was not his partner at the time."

Australian Associated Press