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Woman who accused Barnaby Joyce of sexual harassment speaks publicly for the first time.

The woman who has accused Barnaby Joyce of sexual harassment says she wants him to be held to account.

Mr Joyce, who’s been on personal leave this week with his new partner Vikki Campion, will officially quit as Nationals leader on Monday and go to the backbench.

The scandal surrounding Mr Joyce has dominated headlines for more than two weeks after it emerged the deputy prime minister was in a relationship with his former staffer Ms Campion, who is expecting his baby.

The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss Barnaby Joyce’s affair and how the media has responded. Post continues after audio.

But it was a 2011 sexual harassment allegation published on Friday that pushed him to resign, with Mr Joyce describing the accusation, which he denies, as the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Mr Joyce’s accuser, former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott, released a statement on Saturday saying she never intended the issue to become public.

Ms Marriott wrote a formal letter of complaint to the federal executive of the party on February 20.

“I requested that a formal and confidential investigation into this incident be undertaken by the National party to ensure there is accountability in relation to the incident I raise, and to prevent this type of inappropriate behaviour towards women in the future,” Ms Marriott said in her statement.

“This complaint was not made solely to address the incident against me – it is about speaking up against inappropriate behaviour by people in powerful positions.”

Her lawyer, Emma Salerno, said Ms Marriott hoped her complaint would see the party develop clear processes for handling such complaints.

Mr Joyce has asked the Nationals to refer the allegations to police.

The issues surrounding Mr Joyce have dogged the government for the last two weeks.

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Speaking to reporters in Washington DC early on Saturday, Mr Turnbull thanked Mr Joyce for his service as deputy prime minister.

“He has personal issues that he has to address and he feels that he cannot do that from the dispatch box,” Mr Turnbull said.

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“The issues that have been the subject of discussion over the past two weeks have not been issues between Nationals and Liberals.

“We have a 95-year-old political alliance, the longest in Australian history and it is absolutely enduring.”

However, outspoken Nationals MP George Christensen didn’t see it that way.

He called on Saturday for the Nats to end its coalition with an “aimless” Liberal Party.

Mr Christensen said the party must stand firm and harden its resolve “to put people first” while characterising the Turnbull government as on a “leftward drift” which was shackling the Nationals.

The leader of the Nationals will be decided in a ballot in Canberra on Monday morning.

Veterans Affairs Minister Michael McCormack is frontrunner to replace Mr Joyce.

Former infrastructure minister Darren Chester and NSW backbencher Mark Coulton have thrown their support behind Mr McCormack, while deputy leader Bridget McKenzie has refused to say who she will back.

Mr McCormack’s only confirmed challenger is assistant families minister and fellow NSW MP David Gillespie.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek called for the coalition agreement to be released, saying it was extraordinary the Nationals would decide the new deputy prime minister based on a secret deal.

“Frankly, most Australians have never heard of most of these people,” Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

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