Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has declared he wants a sexual harassment complaint against him to be resolved as soon as possible.
Mr Joyce quit as National leader in February after it emerged he had been accused by former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott of harassment.
He told the ABC he wanted the complaint “finalised ASAP”, saying the issue has “been hanging over my head for too long”.
When the complaint was revealed, Mr Joyce dismissed it as spurious and defamatory.
But he conceded the 2011 allegation was the final straw causing him to resign amid a political storm surrounding his affair with former media adviser Vikki Campion, who has since given birth to their son.
National Farmers Federation chief Fiona Simson said on Thursday she hoped the harassment complaint had been resolved.
“I’ve got no idea where that’s at, but you would have hoped that it already had been resolved,” Ms Simson said.
Mr Joyce is facing fresh calls to resign after taking part in a paid television interview about his affair, in which he labelled unnamed colleagues “scum”.
But Mr Joyce is digging in, emailing Nationals branch members in New England to confirm his intention to stay on in the seat and contest the next federal election.
Ms Simson has occasionally been touted as a possible candidate for the regional NSW seat, but won’t be running this time around.
“I have a job that I really like doing at the moment; I sit on a number of boards as well, and so that’s my focus,” she said.
“I think the Nationals obviously have a job ahead of them having a look at which candidate they actually field in the election, and I hope they have a really good look at it, we need a good candidate up here.”
Nationals leader Michael McCormack has not explicitly endorsed his predecessor, saying the final decision rests with party branch members.
It comes as senior NSW Nationals state MP Kevin Humphies, who lives in New England, urged Mr Joyce to quit politics for the good of the party.
“To be rescued from this is virtually impossible. He pretty much wrote his political death warrant last week with that interview,” Mr Humphries told Network Ten.
Mr Joyce’s former political nemesis and independent MP Tony Windsor believes the beleaguered former Nationals leader will bow out before the next election.
Source: The New Daily