Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Saturday apologised to Prime Minister Scott Morrison for calling him “a hypocrite and a liar” and said the latter did not accept his offer to resign.
In text messages made public on Friday by Nine Newspapers, Joyce said Morrison “is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations and that is over a long time” to former government staffer Brittany Higgins, before Joyce assumed the office of Deputy Prime Minister in June 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.
The messages were sent through a third party after Higgins alleged that she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019.
“When it came to light a couple of days ago, I rang the Prime Minister immediately,” Joyce told reporters on Saturday.
“I apologised. He accepted my apology. I offered my resignation and he did not accept my resignation,” Joyce said.
Morrison announced changes to his cabinet in March 2021 in response to the scandal over the treatment of women in Parliament.