Joyce issue shows double standards: ACOSS

February 13, 2018

The Barnaby Joyce scandal highlights double standards of government policy, Cassandra Goldie says.

The relationship scandal embroiling Barnaby Joyce highlights the double standards of federal government policies, a leading welfare advocate says.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie wants to see higher accountability for the use of parliamentary privileges, of taxpayer funding and clear scrutiny over decisions in relation to employment.

In comparison, she was "horrified" when the last federal budget revealed single parents applying for parenting payments would be rejected unless a third party vouched they were telling the truth.

"We know the overwhelming majority of single parents are women. What this says as a government is, 'We don't believe, we don't trust the voice of the women about their relationship status'," she told reporters in Canberra.

"There is an issue here about double standards."

More broadly, she wants to see the politicians that are elected "searingly focused" on improving the lives of the constituents they represent.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald said while the government is doing "fantastic stuff", all people hear about is same-sex marriage, citizenship issues and now the Barnaby Joyce issue.

"None of them have anything to do with Malcolm Turnbull," Senator Macdonald told reporters.

"This private issue is something that only one person can resolve and that's Barnaby."

He said in time it would be seen as a "minor blemish on the narrative".

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