We Straight-Up Asked Every Minister If They’ve Ever Had Sex With Their Staff
You wanted transparency? Well, we tried.
The bedroom doors have been flung open in Canberra, with the prime minister's bonk ban giving journalists the green light to report on the titty nitty gritty.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a ban on ministers shagging their staff last week, in response to the revelations that deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce not only had an affair with his much younger former staff, but that she was expecting his fifth child.
One of the main criticisms surrounding the Barnababy story was the perception that the Parliament House press gallery had known about the affair and chosen not to report on it.
So, BuzzFeed News emailed every single minister in the Turnbull government asking them four questions:
1. Are you currently in or have you ever had a sexual relationship with an employee?
2. Are you aware of any of your ministerial colleagues who are currently in or have been in a sexual relationship with an employee?
3. How do you define a sexual relationship?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the prime minister's ban on sexual relationships in ministerial offices? And why?
Despite giving ministers 8 hours, and sending through a reminder email, only one person out of the 42-strong ministerial team replied – assistant minister
for the environment Melissa Price.
"I support the PM’s changes, but am disappointed that we should need to make a ruling on something that should be obvious to all ministers," Price told BuzzFeed News.
Malcolm Turnbull, Karen Andrews, Simon Birmingham, Julie Bishop, Matt Canavan, Michaelia Cash, Steven Ciobo, David Coleman, Mathias Cormann, Damien Drum, Peter Dutton, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Mitch Fifield, Paul Fletcher, Josh Frydenberg, David Gillespie, Luke Hartsuyker, Alex Hawke, Greg Hunt, Craig Laundy, David Littleproud, Michael McCormack, James McGrath, Bridget McKenzie, John McVeigh, Scott Morrison, Kelly O'Dwyer, Marise Payne, Christian Porter, Jane Prentice, Christopher Pyne, Anne Ruston, Zed Seselja, Nigel Scullion, Michael Sukkar, Angus Taylor, Dan Tehan, Alan Tudge, and Ken Wyatt all refused to answer BuzzFeed News' questions.
Former Liberal senator, turned Australian Conservative, Cory Bernardi told RN Breakfast on Tuesday morning ministers are sleeping with their staff. However, he declined to name names.
Turnbull told a press conference on Friday that he thought it was "pretty obvious" when asked to define what a sexual relationship was and, despite repeated questions, his office refused to shed any light on what exactly fell under the bonk ban.
Does a friends-with-benefits scenario count as a sexual relationship? How about phone sex? Or the occasional hand shandy? What about sexting a picture of your member plonked in a glass of red wine?
Soon-to-be acting prime minister Mathias Cormann also failed to shed any light when asked to define "sexual relationship" on Sky News.
But Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has promised to probe the senator next week during Senate estimates.
Look, you can't say we didn't try.