Not before time, the Barnaby Joyce saga has provoked Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull into changing the ministerial code of conduct - which he claims is deficient and doesn't speak strongly enough to expected moral values.

Turnbull did not mince words when referring to Barnaby's affair, calling it appalling, a shocking and grave error of judgment, and something that set off "a world of woe".

"Barnaby has much to reflect on," Turnbull said.

Pretty sure Barnaby will have been doing nothing BUT since this scandal started swirling... when every aspect of your personal life is being raked over, your pregnant partner papped, her professional life combed over, your furious ex-wife interviewed, the views of your daughters reported, and the buzzards also circling your political movements... I'm pretty sure all you're doing is reflecting.


Then there's the pressure at home from your ex-wife and kids, the pressure from your partner who, pregnant and branded a homewrecker, must be wishing she could crawl under a rock.

So Turnbull's new code for ministers says no sex with staff, "no minister can engage in sexual relations with anyone in the workplace", or as Australians have already dubbed it, 'the bonking ban'.

The lurid behaviour of one man has forced new expectations of higher standards for everyone else - bar him it seems.

And although he didn't sack him, tellingly the PM didn't express much confidence in Barnaby, and that'll probably play out further. I'd be surprised if we don't see a "resignation" (code for 'being hounded out of office') by the end of next week.

I'm not sure how he's managed to hang on this long. Not even the most robust, acerbic of characters could withstand this kind of relentless attack.

But of greatest interest to me here, is the women involved. It's them I feel for.

The aggrieved humiliated ex-wife, the pregnant new partner, the four embarrassed distressed daughters. All of them are in an invidious position, all of them under siege. The collateral damage is ugly and it's painful. Even the hardest of hearts must feel for them.

Malcolm Turnbull referred to it as dreadful, and that Barnaby had let them down. I'd say that's an understatement. I'd go further: it's an abuse of power.

A man who used his powerful position to conduct secret and scurrilous actions, resulting in the take down of all of these women. His kids have had to, in just a handful of months, cope with a separation, a new relationship, a new half-sibling on the way, and their Dad moving out of the family home. All the while trying to conduct their regular lives, under a glaring spotlight.

So while a new moral code of conduct is all well and good moving forward, it won't help them.

No, Barnaby Joyce didn't break any laws, but when your actions are severe enough to force a rewrite of the ministerial code of standards, you've got to be accountable.

Whether he will or not, remains to be seen, but what we do know, is that this saga has taken more scalps than just his.