Shortly after announcing some very positive financial figures on Monday morning the Morrison government was forced to pivot into defence mode when the nationals MP and the assistant minister to Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Broad, tendered his resignation.
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) December 17, 2018
The federal member for Mallee in regional Victoria has resigned from the front bench amid allegations published in New Idea today that he met up with a woman while overseas on a tax-payer funded trip who he had met through a dating website linking younger women with older men.
Broad told New Idea that the federal police are investigating the matter and that he has been advised “that the person making the allegation may have engaged in criminal activity”.
The Nationals leader, and deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack accepted Broad’s resignation as assistant minister ‘ earlier today due to the nature of the allegations’. He expressed ‘disappointment’ at the situation.
Andrew Broad made headlines back in February when he became the first Coalition MP to call for the former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce to resign after details of his affair with a member of his staff became public.
Back in 2016 Broad made headlines for crudely likening same-sex relations to rams in a paddock.
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) December 17, 2018
He was also a vocal opponent to the same-sex marriage plebiscite last year on the basis of strong family values. Reporters today asked Michael McCormack whether these allegations make Andrew Broad a hypocrite but he declined to comment.
Michael McCormack today told a press conference that he was made aware of the allegations “a few weeks ago” and instructed Broad to refer the matter to the AFP which he did. Broad did not resign until today, however, hours after New Idea published the claims.
The question this clearly poses is why, if the allegations warranted a resignation from the front-bench today, did they not a fortnight ago?
When asked if the Nationals party has a problem with woman McCormack was adamant it doesn’t but said that’s why he has focused on doing “the right thing”
“We [need to] make sure that we are answerable and accountable and that is why I have taken swift and decisive action I have over the past 24 hours, and I will continue to make sure that I lead a party that encourages women to not only join our party but also put their hand up for public life.”
A replacement for Broad in the ministry is yet to be announced.