SAM DUNKED

■ Du­luk booted from Lib­eral Party ■ New allegation­s of poor con­duct ■ Po­lice probe leads to as­sault re­port

The Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - MATT SMITH NIGEL HUNT

PREMIER Steven Mar­shall has kicked MP Sam Du­luk out of the Lib­eral party room af­ter po­lice re­ported him for as­sault over the al­leged bot­tom slap of SA Best MP Con­nie Bonaros.

Mr Mar­shall said Mr Du­luk’s po­si­tion was “un­ten­able” af­ter the po­lice re­port was laid and he was made aware of new allegation­s about his con­duct.

It is un­der­stood the new allegation­s Mr Mar­shall was made aware of yes­ter­day in­clude lewd text mes­sages and comments made by Mr Du­luk.

Mr Du­luk’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer is hang­ing in the bal­ance, with a con­vic­tion mean­ing he could not sit in Par­lia­ment.

Just hours af­ter Mr Mar­shall’s an­nounce­ment at 4pm yes­ter­day, Mr Du­luk re­leased a state­ment say­ing he would sus­pend his mem­ber­ship of the Lib­eral Party.

Advertiser.com.au yes­ter­day re­vealed po­lice had launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mr Du­luk’s con­duct fol­low­ing a com­plaint by Ms Bonaros.

He was in­ter­viewed by de­tec­tives yes­ter­day morn­ing and for­mally re­ported with one count of ba­sic as­sault.

Po­lice launched their in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter Ms Bonaros lodged an of­fi­cial com­plaint over the in­ci­dent.

It is un­der­stood Ms Bonaros took the step be­cause she was frus­trated at the lack of ac­tion be­ing taken against Mr Du­luk by Mr Mar­shall and the Lib­eral Party.

The Premier con­firmed yes­ter­day morn­ing that he had not spo­ken to Ms Bonaros this year. How­ever, he re­peat­edly re­jected any sug­ges­tions he had not done enough to ad­dress the is­sue.

Mr Mar­shall ac­knowl­edged the process to deal with com­plaints made about be­hav­iour in Par­lia­ment House could be im­proved.

He said a com­bi­na­tion of new allegation­s and the po­lice ac­tion meant the Waite MP could no longer be part of the Par­lia­men­tary Lib­eral Party.

“I again make it very clear, the type of be­hav­iour that has been pub­licly can­vassed is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able and falls well short of the stan­dards ex­pected of all mem­bers of par­lia­ment,” Mr Mar­shall said in his state­ment.

“Ac­cord­ingly, I have ad­vised Mr Du­luk that he is no longer to par­tic­i­pate in any meet­ings of the Lib­eral Par­lia­men­tary Party.

“Mr Du­luk’s Lib­eral Party mem­ber­ship is a mat­ter for the Lib­eral Party State Ex­ec­u­tive.”

On Jan­uary 3, The Advertiser re­vealed Mr Du­luk had been ac­cused of slap­ping Ms Bonaros on the bot­tom. Since then, more ac­cu­sa­tions of a racist re­mark and ho­mo­pho­bic comments have emerged.

Mr Mar­shall said fur­ther allegation­s made to him yes­ter­day “were not brought to my at­ten­tion by Mr Du­luk”.

“To en­sure con­fi­den­tial­ity of the in­di­vid­u­als in­volved I will not com­ment fur­ther on these mat­ters,” he said.

Lib­eral Party state di­rec­tor Sascha Mel­drum is­sued a state­ment from Mr Du­luk about 5pm yes­ter­day.

“Ear­lier to­day, I was in­formed that I am the sub­ject of a for­mal re­port made to South Australian Po­lice re­gard­ing a Christ­mas event at Par­lia­ment House in De­cem­ber 2019,” Mr Du­luk said.

“I will take leave from Par­lia­ment while this mat­ter is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“In the in­ter­ests of the Mar­shall Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment and the broader Lib­eral fam­ily, I will not at­tend Lib­eral Par­lia­men­tary meet­ings, and I will sus­pend my mem­ber­ship of the party dur­ing the course of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pend­ing the out­come of this mat­ter.

“I will con­tinue to serve my elec­torate of Waite to the best of my abil­ity.

“My pub­lic apol­ogy is a mat­ter of Par­lia­men­tary record and due to the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion I will not be mak­ing any fur­ther state­ments in re­la­tion to this mat­ter at this time.”

Greens MP Tammy Franks said po­lice ac­tion could have been avoided if the is­sue had been han­dled bet­ter.

“While Par­lia­ment does not have a process to ad­dress these is­sues, this could have been han­dled so much bet­ter right from the start,” she said.

“This has put many peo­ple through dis­tress and trauma and has re­quired the me­dia to be­come in­volved to cre­ate ac­tion.”

Just be­fore mid­day yes­ter­day, po­lice con­firmed Mr Du­luk had been re­ported.

“Po­lice can con­firm that ear­lier to­day a 36-year-old man from the south­ern suburbs was re­ported for ba­sic as­sault al­leged to have oc­curred on 13 De­cem­ber, 2019, in Ade­laide,’’ a spokesman said.

The re­port will be ad­ju­di­cated and Mr Du­luk sum­monsed to ap­pear in Ade­laide Mag­is­trates Court at a later date.

On Jan­uary 17, Speaker Vin­cent Tarzia ap­pointed pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Paul Hock­ing to con­duct a re­port into Mr Du­luk’s con­duct.

Mr Tarzia is ex­pected to make a state­ment to Par­lia­ment next week on the progress of that in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He has not com­mit­ted to re­leas­ing Mr Hock­ing’s re­port pub­licly and has ad­mit­ted he has no power to take any ac­tion against Mr Du­luk, re­gard­less of its find­ings.

In early Jan­uary – af­ter The Advertiser re­vealed the allegation­s – Mr Du­luk is­sued a pub­lic apol­ogy and stood down from his role as the chair­man of a high-pow­ered par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee.

With­out spec­i­fy­ing ex­actly what he did, Mr Du­luk said his be­hav­iour was not con­sis­tent with his char­ac­ter or val­ues.

He is seek­ing sup­port for al­co­hol use and says he is on a “jour­ney of re­cov­ery’’.

Deputy Op­po­si­tion Leader Su­san Close said the Lib­eral Party’s han­dling of the mat­ter had been “shrouded in se­crecy”.

Sam Du­luk with Lib­eral leader Steven Mar­shall in 2015.

Advertiser and Sun­day Mail cov­er­age of Sam Du­luk, left.

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