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    Australian Politicians May Be Banned From Having Sex With Their Staff

    It's a bonk ban.

    Daniel Munoz / AAPIMAGE

    Independent MP Cathy McGowan says she’s planning to introduce a motion in the next month to ban politicians from engaging in sexual relationships with staff members.

    In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, McGowan said it was time for Australia to have a conversation about personal relationships within the workplace.

    "There is a belief the Parliament is behind community expectations and corporate practice," McGowan wrote.

    "The Parliament is a place of work and good workplace practice includes clear expectations about behaviour."

    McGowan suggested Australia could follow the lead set by the United States parliament, which this week passed bipartisan legislation that makes sexual relationships between lawmakers and their employees illegal.

    Cathy McGowan

    The motion comes after deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was outed by The Daily Telegraph as having an affair with a former staffer 17 years his junior, who is now pregnant with his child.

    Joyce, who has four children with his estranged wife of 24 years, refused to comment on the affair during an interview with ABC's 7:30 on Wednesday and would not clarify whether it began before or after she had left his employment.

    "This issue has been FOI'd [Freedom of Information] from just about every media outlet for a very long period of time," he said. "So up hill, down dale, they have enquired into this and nothing has been found because there's nothing there."

    McGowan has called for a conversation about power dynamics ahead of "potentially tabling a motion in Parliament" in the next month calling for a ban on sexual relationships in the workplace.

    Independent MP Bob Katter told Sky News he is inclined to give his support to McGowan's motion.

    When asked about the so-called "bonk ban", attorney-general Christian Porter said his view is that is would be "a very unwieldy law in general terms".

    We all take turns standing outside politicians' bedrooms every night. It's the only way


    Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

    Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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