The Prime Minister’s “bonking ban” will just be the tip of the iceberg.
Last month Malcolm Turnbull was forced to create a rule for no politicians and staffers to have a sexual relationship.
It followed revelations that then-deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had left his wife and was in a relationship with his former media advisor.
On Sunday Joyce told Fairfax that he may not be the father of the child, but would raise the unborn son as “mine”.
This follows him stepping down as the Nationals leader and moving to the backbench.
It also followed intense media scrutiny of his personal life. Back in February, he said his private life was private. Now Joyce is claiming the media didn’t scrutinise the details of the pregnancy and therefore should have known the paternity of the child was unclear.
If anything, this bonking ban is only going to create more Barnaby Joyce-type moments.
Now that is against the rules, more scrutiny is going to be applied.
The ban has also, in some ways, endorsed media coverage. It’s now, arguably, of public interest if people are having affairs or relationships as they would be breaking rules set by the Prime Minister.
It’s a thin, faded line that is going to be hard to toe. We saw this last week with Michaelia Cash’s comments threatening to expose women in a Labor office.
If you turn to our neighbours New Zealand, last year Jacinda Ardern, 37, became Prime Minister. Three months later she announced she was pregnant and would spend six weeks on leave. Her partner would be the primary carer of the child.
The public, and unjust, scrutiny ensued.
Ms Ardern said to not attack family had always been an unspoken rule in New Zealand politics and that rule had been challenged.
“You want people to come into politics without having to sacrifice the privacy of the family. Of course a bit of that goes, but you want people to still find it attractive to come into politics,” she said.
She added the private lives of political staff should also be shielded from media.
We want strong, capable leaders for our country.
he media and public should be examining policies and commitments not keeping an eye on the morality of politicians – unless of course it is criminal behaviour, rather than relationships deemed to be immoral.