The woman who claims Barnaby Joyce sexually harassed her has broken her silence, a day after the Nationals leader revealed her complaint was the "straw that broke the camel's back".

West Australian Rural Woman of the year Catherine Marriott said she detailed her account of the alleged incident in a letter to the National Party.

Ms Marriott claims it took place at an event in 2011. Mr Joyce has strongly denied the claims and says he wants the matter referred to police, reports News.com.au.

In a statement to the media on Saturday through her lawyer Emma Salerno, Ms Marriott said she did not want this issue to "become public".

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"On February 20, 2018, I wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Federal Executive of the National Party outlining an allegation of sexual harassment against Barnaby Joyce," she wrote.

"I want to stress that I never intended for this issue to become public.

"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."

WA Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott, in Kununurra, Western Australia. Photo / News.com.au
WA Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott, in Kununurra, Western Australia. Photo / News.com.au

She said the complaint "was not made solely to address the incident against me — it is about speaking up against inappropriate behaviour by people in powerful positions".

"I will await the outcome of this investigation before determining any future action or commenting further."

The statement follows Mr Joyce's decision to resign as deputy prime minister.

"Can I say right from the start, this is never about me," Mr Joyce said in the press conference. "It's about the person in the weatherboard and iron, something that manifestly expressed what the National Party is about.

"It's about the person in many places, their right to transcend through the economic and social stratification of life."

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During his resignation speech on Friday, Mr Joyce also said it had been an incredible privilege to serve as deputy PM.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Photo / Australia Broadcasting Corporation via AP
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Photo / Australia Broadcasting Corporation via AP

Pressure had been mounting on Mr Joyce to step aside since it was revealed he had an affair with staffer Vikki Campion, who is now his partner and carrying his child.

They are now living together and their baby is due in April.

The affair has been publicly slammed by Malcolm Turnbull, who accused Mr Joyce of making "a shocking error of judgment". Mr Joyce hit back by calling the prime minister "inept".