Yesterday, Liberal MP Jamie Briggs resigned from the frontbench following an “inappropriate” incident with a female colleague at a Hong Kong bar in November this year, after the woman in question made a formal complaint.
In his resignation letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, while he doesn’t implicitly state that he was on the piss, he pretty much implies that he was on the piss. His description of events that lead to the complaint include dinner, a crowded bar, a late night, and a false belief that he, the woman, his Chief of Staff and others at the bar were all interacting in an “informal manner”. You do the maths.
Adding fuel to that fire is an unnamed Liberal MP today calling Briggs “a loose cannon on the grog“, as reported by Fairfax (and their contact list of LNP members keen to trash talk their fellow colleagues is second to none).
“It was always a question of whether he would work his way out of it before he got into trouble,” the MP continued.
‘Trouble’ in this case appears to be used rather specifically to this incident, since just two months prior, Briggs “seriously injured his leg” by attempting and failing to rugby tackle former PM Tony Abbott at the Kirribilli House rager, a story he only came forward with after realising no one was buying his ‘I hurt it on a run’ story. Oh, what larks!
Details are murky on what transpired in Hong Kong, and will probably remain so. Channel 9‘s political editor Laurie Oaks is reporting that Briggs tried to kiss the woman on her neck, but in the end, do we really need to know? The straight facts here (man in power, female public servant, a bar, confusion about “appropriate behaviour”, and an event that lead to an official complaint and a resignation) can make spines crawl all on their own.
. @LaurieOakes reporting Jamie Briggs tried to kiss the female public servant on the neck while they were at the bar.
— Bridie Jabour (@bkjabour) December 29, 2015
Meanwhile, The Australian is reporting that a former staffer of Briggs, Rebekha Sharkie, says she left his office in 2010 due to “things said that were misogynistic in nature. His was typical of the attitude of the Abbott government: that women were either beauty queens or ironing ladies.”
Sharkie says she “voted with her feet”, walking out of there and into the office of one Nick Xenophon, in whose party she’ll be running in the next election against Briggs himself.