El­liott says he never meant to cause any dis­tress

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - CLARISSA BYE

COR­REC­TIONS Min­is­ter David El­liott yes­ter­day de­fended his role in air­ing ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against for­mer La­bor leader Luke Fo­ley, say­ing it was “never my in­tent to cause dis­tress for the jour­nal­ist”.

Mr El­liott drew crit­i­cism af­ter ABC jour­nal­ist Ash­leigh Raper said his rais­ing the in­ci­dent in par­lia­ment pushed the is­sue into the pub­lic do­main, spark­ing in­tense me­dia at­ten­tion.

“This oc­curred with­out my in­volve­ment or con­sent,” she said.

In re­sponse, Mr El­liott said yes­ter­day: “This has clearly been a dif­fi­cult time for the jour­nal­ist. I have long held con­cerns over the char­ac­ter of the al­ter­nate premier.

“To that end, it was never my in­tent to cause dis­tress for the jour­nal­ist.”

Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said she had not en­dorsed her min­is­ter’s use of par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege to at­tack Mr Fo­ley last month. How­ever, she said his ac­tions “were not pre­med­i­tated”.

Ms Bere­jik­lian said she felt “in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed” Ms Raper had “con­trol of the is­sue, in the way she wanted, taken away from her”.

“Look, I’ve ex­pressed my dis­ap­point­ment and I made that very clear (to Mr El­liott). I’ve ex­pressed that and I’ll con­tinue to on a whole range of lev­els,” Ms Bere­jik­lian said.

She de­scribed the TV jour­nal­ist, who pre­vi­ously worked at state par­lia­ment, as some­one of “enor­mous in­tel­li­gence, in­tegrity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism”.

“And that was only en­hanced yes­ter­day by her elo­quent and brave state­ment,” Ms Bere­jik­lian said.

“We need to re­spect what she said.”

Mr El­liott.

Ms Bere­jik­lian.

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