EMBATTLED Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce would take some solace from the response from voters in front bars in the National Party heartland of Grafton.

The Daily Examiner wanted to know what its readers thought of Malcolm Turnbull's so-called "Bonk Ban", so it sent a reporter out to test the pubs.

The Bonk Ban is a prohibition on ministers having sexual relations with staff, which the PM added to the Ministerial Code of Conduct on Thursday.

NEIL OVERKILL, Grafton: I don't see a problem with it. Just don't get caught.
NEIL OVERKILL, Grafton: I don't see a problem with it. Just don't get caught. Ebony Stansfield

"None of his business," best summarises the replies reporter Ebony Stansfield received to her questions.

While this might comfort Mr Joyce and rusted-on Nationals voters, on the steps of Parliament House it's been a case of duelling press conferences as the PM and his deputy have swapped turns in taking pot shots at each other.

 

MATTHEW GARRETT, One word hypocrites. Too little too late.
MATTHEW GARRETT, One word hypocrites. Too little too late. Ebony Stansfield

"Appalling judgment," thundered the PM, trying to give his deputy the hint he wanted a resignation soon.

"Inept response," chirped back his deputy, either not hearing or taking the message.

 

ROD TRELA, Grafton: We have bigger things to worry about. As long as they are getting the job done I don't really care. It's no ones business.
ROD TRELA, Grafton: We have bigger things to worry about. As long as they are getting the job done I don't really care. It's no ones business. Ebony Stansfield

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, obviously not quite able to believe his luck, decided to remind the pair of what they should be doing - governing the country.

The government, he said, was "eating itself alive" while it was so consumed with its own problems.

The press gallery in the meantime tied itself in knots trying to cover the twists and turns in the story but the theme has been consistent: Barnaby's a goner. - Tim Howard


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