Labor asks Malcolm Turnbull if he still supports Barnaby Joyce – question time live

Labor has now asked the special minister of state, Mathias Cormann, what instrument delegates the prime minister’s office’s role in oversight of appointments of staff to the deputy prime minister.

Cormann repeats (three times) that the PMO only has an administrative role reporting staffing changes to the department of finance, and (twice) the Nationals have an allocation of staff that they’re responsible for.

Can the minister confirm that Vikki Campion was paid above the band? Cormann: “No.”

The first Barnaby Joyce-related question in Senate question time – did Matthew Canavan seek approval from the prime minister before hiring Vikki Campion in his ministerial office?

Canavan said that appointments in Nationals’ offices are made in consultation with the deputy prime minister’s office but the prime minister’s office “has an administrative role [only], so the answer to the question is: no”.

After a follow-up, he clarifies that Joyce’s office approved the staff transfer but Malcolm Turnbull’s office only had an “administrative role in informing the department of finance of the changes”.

Asked if he informed the PM’s office of the nature of the relationship – Canavan referred to Joyce’s statement this morning and adds: “I had no knowledge of the relationship between Joyce and Campion at the time.”

That prompts a series of interjections from Labor including: “You were the only one!” and “come on!”.

Australia news | The Guardian