Barnaby Joyce 'resisted' removing girlfriend Vikki Campion from office

Ms Campion is pregnant with Mr Joyce's child- his fifth- after he split last year from his wife

Ms Campion is pregnant with Mr Joyce's child- his fifth- after he split last year from his wife

The office of the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said he was unaware of the relationship between the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, and former staffer Vikki Campion.

Mr Joyce and Ms Campion have reportedly moved into a townhouse gifted by the deputy PM's multi-millionaire friend.

But Nationals senator Nigel Scullion angrily defended his leader on Monday.

Appearing on The Project on Sunday night, political commentator Barrie Cassidy said Mr Joyce's relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion had turned into a "toxic issue".

Ahead of the Nationals party meeting, the deputy prime minister's New South Wales Nationals colleague John Williams said he did not know if Joyce would lead the party to the next election.

The justification? Get this - "Ms Campion was not his partner at the time of the staff appointments".

'Government has no business interfering in people's personal lives, we wouldn't want to, ' she said.

When Mr Cassidy was asked if there were any more "revelations" involving the Deputy Prime Minister yet to surface, the conversation turned awkward.

Questions are now being asked about Ms Campion's employment during her time with the federal Nationals, after the media advisor a year ago moved from Mr Joyce's office to the office of minister Matt Canavan and later to the office of Nationals whip Damian Drum.

Parliamentary rules state any increase in staffing allocations must be approved by the prime minister's office.

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"A close relative or partner of a minister is not to be appointed to any position in an agency in the minister's own portfolio if the appointment is subject to the agreement of the minister or cabinet", the section relating to "employment of family members" continues.

'It is a tough and distressing episode and I am very conscious - Lucy and I are very conscious - of the hurt occasioned to Natalie and their daughters in particular, ' Mr Turnbull said.

But later he told ABC TV: "Let's see how all of the travel things come out and so on".

"I just think the sun is setting on his career, and I can't see how he can survive".

Williams told the ABC he wasn't sure if Joyce had "done anything wrong by the law of the taxpayers".

Mr Joyce is expecting a child with Ms Campion after it was revealed he with his wife of 24-years, Natalie, with whom he shares four children.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has called on the coalition to be transparent about Ms Campion's job trajectory after the relationship with Mr Joyce became known within government circles a year ago.

"The Prime Minister's Office has an administrative role in informing the Department of Finance of changes", Mr Joyce said.

"The distribution of those staff members between Nationals offices is a matter for the National Party", Mr Turnbull said.

"This is a tragic set of personal and family circumstances", Mr Rudd told the National Press Club.

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