Cabinet minister Kelly O'Dwyer believes most Australians are "pretty disgusted" by Barnaby Joyce's decision to pocket $150,000 for a tell-all interview about his new family with a former staffer.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intends to raise the widely criticised television interview privately with Mr Joyce, but said he would be "uncharacteristically circumspect" about making public comment.
"It's not something that I would have encouraged him to do, in fact quite the contrary," Mr Turnbull told Tasmanian radio station LAFM.
The controversial interview to air on Sunday night has prompted calls for a ban on serving politicians receiving cash for media comment.
Ms O'Dwyer said she didn't think serving politicians should put a price on being accountable to the public, and Mr Joyce had made a mistake.
It is the strongest condemnation of the former deputy prime minister by any member of the coalition, but Ms O'Dwyer stopped short of calling on Mr Joyce to pull the pin on the interview.
"Ultimately it's a matter for him and his judgment. I personally wouldn't do it, I don't think it's right, and I think most Australians are pretty disgusted by it," she told ABC radio on Tuesday.
Asked if the saga would cause a backlash for the government, Ms O'Dwyer told Sky News, "I think these decisions are decisions taken by individual members, and that's a question you might want to put to him."
Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester, who was dumped by Mr Joyce from cabinet in December, intends to discuss the proposed ban with colleagues at the next partyroom meeting.
"This is unprecedented in my time in parliament and I'm open to the conversation about banning MPs from benefiting personally from selling stories to the media," Mr Chester told The Daily Telegraph.
"We need to have a closer look at it."
The minister acknowledged the circumstances were complex given Mr Joyce's partner Vikki Campion was entitled to seek payment as a private citizen.
However, Mr Chester said the former Nationals leader could no longer complain about a breach of privacy after agreeing to the paid interview.
The couple sold their story, which includes the birth of a son, to Channel Seven's Sunday Night program.
Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek doubts a ban on politicians receiving cash for comment will prove a solution, likening it to a prohibition on sleeping with staff.
"If common sense and common decency don't tell you that these things are the wrong thing to do, I don't think a ban is going to fix the problem," Ms Plibersek told reporters.
Australian Associated Press
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