A major rift opened has up in Australia's fragile ruling coalition as the Deputy Prime Minister refused to quit over an affair with a staff member.
"Obviously what else transpires - not just in our electorates but obviously on a national front - has to be thought through", he told Fairfax. "I never get too far ahead of myself", he said, neither confirming nor denying whether he would attempt to depose Joyce at a meeting to be held on Monday.
The pair met at the Commonwealth Parliament Offices in Sydney for over an hour on Saturday, where the two leaders discussed their public spat regarding Mr Joyce's affair with a former staffer.
Mr Turnbull on Sunday characterised it as a "frank and warm, friendly, good, constructive" meeting. "I know there was great excitement in the media that there was some Coalition clash, there are no issues between the Liberal and National parties, at all".
'It's always very important to meet, to work through the various challenges and issues that we face but the important thing is Barnaby and I are working closely together as we always have'.
Turnbull, who introduced a ban on sexual relationships between ministers and their staff on Thursday, said Joyce had shown "shocking error of judgment".
Professor Johnson said Mr Joyce had been the Nationals best "retail politician" in the past, considered an authentic, anti-establishment politician standing for family values on arguments like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Labor frontbencher Richard Marles said it was unprecedented to have the nation's leaders at each other's throats. "If the number two in the government says the number one in the government is inept, we've got a big problem".
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten seized on Mr Joyce's assessment of the prime minister to repeatedly refer to the "inept" government during his speech at the Tasmanian Labor election campaign launch.
The prime minister will head to the USA later this week for talks with President Donald Trump, a week after a young gunman killed 17 students in an attack in Florida.
The comments were seen as a thinly veiled call for the National Party leader to resign from the cabinet.
In a break with tradition, Turnbull on Thursday told parliament that Joyce wouldn't serve as acting prime minister when he visits Washington next week for talks with President Donald Trump and would instead be taking leave to consider his position.
In a separate. picture showing him with a handgun, Mr Chirstensen says: "You gotta ask yourself, do you fell lucky, greenie punks?", paraphrasing a line from Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry movie.
'I don't know how the prime minister and deputy prime minister can possibly fix the division and dysfunction that we've seen in recent weeks, ' she told reporters in Adelaide.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has put his ministerial colleagues on notice that if they sleep with their staff, it will no longer be kept quiet.
"It was very forceful and I can understand that Barnaby would be in a very sensitive frame of mind at the moment", he told ABC TV.