Coun­cil­lor ‘be­yond grate­ful’

Broome Advertiser - - NEWS - Jakeb Waddell and Nick Evans

The Kim­ber­ley woman who lodged a for­mal complaint of sex­ual ha­rass­ment against for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce has sent out a mes­sage of thanks to the com­mu­nity, af­ter the NSW branch of the Na­tion­als party dis­missed her al­le­ga­tions.

Shire of Broome coun­cil­lor Cather­ine Mar­riott said she was “be­yond thank­ful” for the sup­port of the com­mu­nity through­out the ordeal.

“One of the won­der­ful things about liv­ing in a small com­mu­nity is that when you go through some­thing dif­fi­cult, they come out to sup­port you,” she said.

“I am so grate­ful, par­tic­u­larly to Shire pres­i­dent Harold Tracey and the other coun­cil­lors, for the sup­port and help they have given me.

“I am look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to fo­cus on help­ing to lead the com­mu­nity of Broome the best way that I can and growing re­gional Aus­tralia.”

Ms Mar­riott re­leased a state­ment last week say­ing she had been ad­vised the NSW Na­tion­als branch had found it was un­able to make a de­ter­mi­na­tion on her complaint be­cause it lacked ev­i­dence to make a find­ing, despite the re­port find­ing her ev­i­dence was “forth­right, be­liev­able, open and gen­uinely up­set” about the in­ci­dent.

Mr Joyce has al­ways ve­he­mently de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

Ms Mar­riott said in the state­ment she was “ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed” the panel had not made any con­clu­sions about her complaint, say­ing the de­ci­sion high­lighted the enor­mous flaws in the Na­tion­als’ in­ter­nal pro­cesses.

“I’m ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that af­ter eight months of wait­ing, three trips to the east coast at my own ex­pense to meet with the party, my name and con­fi­den­tial complaint be­ing leaked to the na­tional me­dia, and my per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life be­ing up­ended, the Na­tional party have reached a ‘no con­clu­sion’ ver­dict,” she said.

“The only pos­i­tive to come from this har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has been the de­vel­op­ment of a muchim­proved pol­icy by the party that I vol­un­teered to con­trib­ute to­wards and strongly en­cour­aged the de­vel­op­ment of.”

In a brief state­ment the NSW Na­tion­als con­firmed it had fi­nalised its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and said the fi­nal re­port would not be re­leased.

The for­mer West Aus­tralian Ru­ral Woman of the Year lodged her sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tion against Mr Joyce at the height of the con­tro­versy over his af­fair with for­mer staffer Vikki Cam­pion.

Cr Mar­riott thought she was mak­ing a con­fi­den­tial complaint to the Na­tional party, but de­tails were leaked and the is­sue be­came entangled in the me­dia frenzy sur­round­ing Mr Joyce’s lead­er­ship, even­tu­ally lead­ing to his res­ig­na­tion as Na­tion­als leader and deputy prime min­is­ter.

Mr Joyce said he stood by the com­ments he made in Fe­bru­ary, when news of the al­le­ga­tion broke, and had noth­ing to add.

In Fe­bru­ary he de­scribed the al­le­ga­tions as “spu­ri­ous and defam­a­tory”.

Shire of Broome coun­cil­lor Cather­ine Mar­riott.

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