Parliament rejects call for firing of Australia's deputy PM

Australian Deputy Prime Minster Barnaby Joyce, second from left, sits with colleagues including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, center, during a sess

Australian Deputy Prime Minster Barnaby Joyce, second from left, sits with colleagues including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, center, during a sess

Australia's opposition lawmaker Mark Dreyfus, center, sits with colleagues during a session in the Australian Parliament in Canberra, Thursday, Feb. 1

Australia's opposition lawmaker Mark Dreyfus, center, sits with colleagues during a session in the Australian Parliament in Canberra, Thursday, Feb. 1

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's beleaguered deputy prime minister has withstood a parliamentary vote that would have called for his firing after revelations of a relationship with a former staffer.

The opposition Labor Party had hoped disaffected lawmakers in Barnaby Joyce's own Nationals party would back their motion, but coalition lawmakers in the House of Representatives held firm and defeated the motion 73 to 70 on Thursday.

Joyce has said his relationship is a private matter. But questions have been raised about the woman's employment in government jobs and about Joyce living rent-free in an apartment owned by a wealthy political donor.

Joyce said he wasn't a minister late last year when the apartment was offered to him.