AMID speculation on the future political career of Barnaby Joyce following his media conference in Canberra this morning, some are suggesting Member for Dawson George Christensen could be the next deputy prime minister.
He is today facing further allegations of inappropriate behaviour, with the Daily Telegraph reporting claims from a woman who said Mr Joyce "pinched (her) bottom" at a 2011 awards ceremony.
Joyce has been in the news since it was revealed last week that his former staffer Vikki Campion is pregnant with his child.
Likely front runners for the position, include Michael McCormack, who is now in the outer ministry as Malcolm Turnbull's Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel, and Darren Chester, the former cabinet-level minister for infrastructure, dropped in the December reshuffle.
He again publically apologised to his family and voters and confirmed "without a shadow of a doubt" that he and Ms Campion were now in a relationship.
The allegations have resurfaced amid intense political pressure on Joyce, stemming from the revelation he is expecting a child with former media advisor Vikki Campion, and that Joyce left his wife of 24 years to pursue the relationship.
"I did not discuss these matters with the Prime Minister or his office as Vikki was not my partner, so they were dealt with in the usual course of staff deployments within the Party".
"I'd like to also like to say to my supporters and people in my electorate how deeply sorry I am that this personal issue has gone into the public arena".
"I would like to say to Natalie how deeply sorry I am for all the hurt this has caused".
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Mr Dastyari argued Ms Campion's job relocation from Mr Joyce's office to work for other Nationals MPs was "a clear breach of the rules". "And Damian Drum was not a minister".
"Vikki Campion has also been the subject of unwanted and deeply hurtful commentary at a hard time, particularly as we are having a child together in mid-April", he said in the statement.
However that contradicts media claims the Turnbull told his colleagues in August past year that he believed the affair was over.
"The distribution of those staff members between Nationals offices is a matter for the National party", he said.
And then about how Joyce is living rent-free with Campion in a rural townhouse owned by a multi-millionaire businessman.
"I think they're all worthy issues, we did the republic once before, we had a complete failure when it comes to Indigenous recognition".
In response to a question from ALP Leader Bill Shorten about whether he has "full confidence" that Joyce did not violate ministerial standards, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he believed Joyce was not in a relationship with Campion as defined by the code at the time of her promotion.
Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari hasn't tweeted for a couple of months, but returned on Monday to give Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce some advice.
He added that it was "vitally important" in differentiating between the public and the private.