Controversial minister Mal Brough has stood aside as Special Minister of State, the announcement coming just minutes after fellow minister Jamie Briggs resigned.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday that Brough, embroiled in a saga over the alleged copying of former speaker Peter Slipper's diary, would step aside from his ministerial responsibilities while a police investigation into the diaries proceeded.
"The Hon Mal Brough MP and I have agreed that he will stand aside... pending the completion of inquiries by the police," Turnbull announced in a statement.
"In offering to stand aside, Mr Brough has done the right thing, recognising the importance of the government maintaining an unwavering focus on jobs, economic growth and national security."
The statement, titled "ministerial arrangements," also included more information on the resignation of Briggs.
Brough had been the target of days of Question Time drama earlier this year, after allegations he had asked former Slipper staffer James Ashby to procure copies of Slipper's diary. In 2012, Ashby alleged Slipper had sexually harassed him via text message, but a Federal Court case on the matter was thrown out. Slipper himself resigned in October 2012, after being found guilty of misusing taxi charge vouchers.
Many online criticised the timing of the two announcements, coming just days before the New Year in a traditionally quiet period. Some accused the Prime Minister of "taking out the trash," attempting to bury controversial announcements to avoid the media spotlight.
PM Turnbull's epic trash day told in three statements. pic.twitter.com/MuEKCVEtGn— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) December 29, 2015
One of the more brazen take out the trash days in a while— Bridie Jabour (@bkjabour) December 29, 2015
Trash Day https://t.co/07kZfZIX8S— Sophia Phan (@Sophia_Phan) December 29, 2015
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Has any PM ever dumped out more bad news between Christmas and New Years?— Tim Watts (@TimWattsMP) December 29, 2015