Barnaby Joyce, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, speaks during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia February 16, 2018. AAP/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS
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A major rift opened up in Australia's fragile ruling coalition Friday as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce refused to quit over an affair with a staff member and derided Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's condemnation of his behavior as "inept".Turnbull, whose coalition holds a razor-thin majority of just one seat, has also called on Joyce to consider his position.Joyce leads the rural-based National Party, the junior partner in the center-right government led by Turnbull's Liberal Party, a political alliance that has existed since 1923 .Eager to draw a line under the scandal, Turnbull Thursday said he would change ministerial conduct rules, introducing a ban on relationships between lawmakers and staffers adopted last week by U.S Congress.Political analysts said the ban would do little beyond giving Turnbull additional political ammunition.
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