A federal Liberal party staffer has resigned after being accused of hurtling a “vile insult” at Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor.
Using parliamentary privilege, O’Connor told the Tasmanian state parliament on Wednesday night that Andrew Hudgson has allegedly called her a “meth-head c***” in 2019.
Before being asked to resign in light of the accusation, Hudgson had been employed as a media advisor to Michael Sukkar, federal Assistant Treasurer and Housing Minister.
O’Connor told parliament she did not know Hudgson personally, and that her media advisor had heard Hudgson make the slur. It allegedly happened during the time Hudgson worked for Tasmania’s then premier, Will Hodgman.
“Mr Hudgson called me a ‘meth-head c***’ as he and his colleagues walked across the lawns not far from us,” O’Connor told the Tasmanian Parliament on Wednesday night.
“Imagine hating women so much you’d say that audibly about a woman you don’t know, who also happens to be an elected representative?
“I was doing an interview at the time and didn’t hear the insult but Alice did. I believed her without question because in the decade I’ve worked with Alice she has never lied to me.
“Others who were with Mr Hudgson at the time heard it too. We know this. We’ve had it confirmed.
“Alice made detailed notes of her recollections, then reported this incident to the then-premier’s office.”
At the time of the alleged incident, the Tasmanian premier’s then chief-off-staff, Tim Baker, received a complain from O’Connor, and started a formal investigation by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Two weeks later, O’Connor was informed no action would be taken.
According to a letter sent to O’Connor, the investigator found the allegation to be “not substantiated”.
On Wednesday night, O’Connor told parliament that it was another example of a woman’s story not being believed, and that Hudgson had been protected by the Liberal party. The allegation comes in the same week that thousands of women around the country took part in the March 4 Justice, calling for women to be respected and safe from abuse in parliament, and in all workplaces.
“Andrew Hudgson’s story was believed. He went on to work for the Morrison government,” she said.
“It reminds me a bit of the Catholic Church of old — shuffle people around, but keep them on the books.
“The take home from this is that Mr Hudgson has been protected by the Liberal party, state and federal.
“Madam Speaker, this is the standard our current Prime Minister walks past because, it becomes more clear by the day, he accepts it.
“The women and girls of Australia have long memories, Mr Morrison. We see you, we hear you, and we believe you are a big part of the problem.”
The Prime Minister’s office acted quickly on Wednesday night after O’Connor made the allegation in parliament, asking Hudgson to resign immediately.