Federal Mallee MP Andrew Broad has voted to prevent a motion against Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce as new reports continued to question his ministerial conduct.
Labor shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus moved that parliament suspend standing orders on Thursday morning in light of new claims about Mr Joyce’s living arrangements with former media adviser.
Mr Joyce’s marriage of 24 years ended late last year and last week it emerged that he was expecting a baby with former employee, Vikki Campion, following an extra-marital affair.
The Australianreported on Wednesday that Mr Broad was part of a group of Nationals MPs who were considering an approach to Mr Joyce to ask him to resign as party leader, which would also remove him from his position as Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr Joyce and senior government MPs had been fighting off claims around a series of high-paying, taxpayer- funded jobs that were awarded to Ms Campion late last year.
However, on Thursday morning Mr Broad voted in parliament to prevent debate on a motion calling for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to sack Mr Joyce over accepting free accommodation from New England businessman Greg Maguire.
Labor moved that the House of Representatives note reports “that the Deputy Prime Minister rang a benefactor for a place to stay and received a gift of rent-free accommodation worth an estimated $12,000”.
The motion, if agreed to, would have called on the Prime Minister “to immediately sack the Deputy Prime Minister for clearly breaching the Prime Minister’s Statement of Ministerial Standards”.
The move to suspend standing orders for the motion was defeated 70 votes to 73 with the help of Mr Broad.
Mr Joyce told parliament his accommodation was provided by a friend in a personal time of need after he lost his seat in the dual citizenship crisis.
“Mr Maguire approached me, as did many other friends, to offer support…I offered to pay for it and he said ‘mates don’t pay for things when they are helping other mates out’,” Mr Joyce said.