Premiers in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have ruled out matching Malcolm Turnbull’s ban on sexual relations between ministers and their staff.
The state’s leaders have no appetite to follow the prime minister’s formal ban, put in place because of Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce’s affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.
A spokesman for Liberal NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said she had “no plans to change the ministerial code of conduct”.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had no plans for a sex ban either, saying her ministers know the rules.
“My ministers know the public has high expectations of them and I expect them to meet those expectations,” the Labor leader said on Friday.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill said common sense should prevail.
“If we start having to put a rule in place every time to legislate for common sense, we’ll be spending a lot of our time making rules,” he said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan told reporters: “I have other priorities. To be frank with you, I find what’s going on nationally a bit embarrassing for the country.”
“There are various codes of conduct (in WA). I really don’t want Western Australia to be dragged into this national circus that’s going on,” he said.
Victoria’s ministerial code of conduct makes no mention of sexual relationships with staff and Labor Premier Daniel Andrews hasn’t indicated change is likely.
“I would have thought that was reasonably self evident and the fact that you’ve got to write a rule to stop that happening after the event, that’s a pretty powerful commentary on what’s going on up in Canberra,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.
Mr Turnbull rewrote the ministerial code of conduct to include the formal ban.
It now states: “Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with their staff. Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards.”
Mr Joyce on Friday said the Nationals supported the change, but also warned of its ramifications.
“It goes without saying that this will create immense fodder for the good people in the media and it will obviously reverberate across all political parties,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said no politician should be having sex with their staff at any level of government.
“It shouldn’t just be Canberra. I think it should be all three tiers of government,” he told reporters on Friday.
“You’re there to do a job, focus on the job, and if you’re romantic, you know, take it outside.”
But he stopped short of announcing his own sex ban at the Gold Coast City Council, saying: “I would say I would lead by my own action.”