Nationals MP Andrew Broad will not contest the next federal election, after it was revealed he allegedly sent racy text messages to a young woman he met through a "sugar daddy" dating website.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning Broad said he had withdrawn his nomination for the safe lower house seat of Mallee, which he holds on a margin of 19.8%.
"After recent media stories about my private life, it is clear that the people of Mallee will be best served in the next Parliament by a different Nationals candidate," Broad said in a statement.
"I want to acknowledge and thank my family, my staff, Nationals members and the community for their support of me.
"I have done my best and at times we have achieved good things, but I have also let them down."
Rather than trigger a by-election, Broad said he will remain on the backbench and "work tirelessly" for his community until the next federal election, expected in May 2019.
Earlier on Tuesday, Nationals leader Michael McCormack confirmed he had known about the scandal since at least November 8 but did not inform the prime minister until Monday.
"I thought it was a personal matter between him and his family," Mr McCormack said.
"I don't tell the prime minister absolutely everything about every member of parliament, he's got enough on his mind at the moment.
"I wasn't aware of the entire extent of what had taken place, I wasn't made aware of that, and I wasn't made aware of that until yesterday."
Broad resigned as the assistant minister to the deputy prime minister on Monday morning after New Idea magazine published messages he allegedly sent to a woman he met on a "sugar daddy" dating site named Amy – who goes by the online alias "Sweet Sophia Rose".
"I'm here to make you laugh, ensure you feel safe in my company, make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the room... and then get you naked," Amy alleges Broad messaged her.
In other messages the 43-year-old married politician allegedly described himself as a "country guy" who knows how to "fly a plane, ride a horse, fuck my woman".
"I pull you close, run my strong hands down your back, softly kiss your neck and whisper 'Gday mate'," Broad allegedly messaged her.
Amy alleges Broad took her to dinner at the expensive Aqua restaurant in Hong Kong. She said during the dinner he bragged about his "important" position in parliament, placed his hand on her leg and referred to himself as "James Bond".
Broad had suggested Amy had sought money from him, and under direction from McCormack asked the AFP to investigate last month. The AFP said it found no indication of a crime being committed under Australian law.
Broad was in Hong Kong for a conference on a trip he claims was personally funded. But parliamentary travel records show he charged taxpayers for flights between Mildura and Melbourne before and after the conference.
Broad has said he will repay the costs of the two flights, about $480.
Broad was among the first MPs to call for former leader Barnaby Joyce's resignation after it was revealed Joyce was expecting a baby with his former staffer.
Last year he claimed a Tinder profile using his image was fake.
Broad also came under fire in 2016 after he likened same-sex marriage to farm animals having sex in a paddock.
"I think a bicycle is not a tricycle, and relationships can have different names," he said in 2016. "I can put the rams in a paddock and they might mount one another, but no lambs will come out."
McCormack has denied the Broad scandal is further evidence that the Liberal and National parties have a problem with women.
“Both the women in my party, Bridget McKenzie, my deputy leader, and Michelle Landry, are ministers and certainly the women's council of the National Party at a federal and at a state level are doing a fantastic job to encourage more women to put their hands up for office.”
There are two women in the Nationals' federal team of 22.