NSW Greens MP Told To Step Down By Colleagues Over Sexual Misconduct Claims

A pair of Greens MPs have issued a joint statement calling on their colleague Jeremy Buckingham to resign from Parliament and not contest the next election, over allegations of “sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances” which have circulated in recent months.

Federal Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi and NSW MLA Jenny Leong posted the statement on social media as Leong stood up in the NSW Legislative Assembly and called for Buckingham to step down.

“We have made this decision as independent women and we have not taken it lightly,” the statement says.

Here it is:

In her address, which was made under parliamentary privilege, Leong admitted that the Greens response and investigation of the allegations against Buckingham had been “completely unsatisfactory.”

“We cannot advance our agenda for a more just, more sustainable and more equitable world when so much energy, effort time, resources and pain has been exhausted trying to manage one man and his unacceptable behaviour,” she said.

Leong referred to allegations made by former Greens staffer Ella Buckland, who alleges that Buckingham touched her inappropriately in 2011. Ms Buckland appeared in an ABC 7.30 report elaborating on the process she had been subjected to in the Greens.

“Let me say on the record, I believe you,” Leong said.

The statement from Faruqi and Leong follows a statement from former Senator Lee Rhiannon – also posted to Facebook – in which she compared the Buckingham situation to how the Labor Party dealt with Luke Foley last week, who was also accused of sexual misconduct:

The two alleged incidents are similar but the responses of the Greens and Labor have taken different directions. Luke Foley is no longer leader and will not be contesting the state election in March 2019. My view is that MPs and candidates facing such allegations should stand aside from their positions or be stood aside by their parties.

An internal Greens investigation found there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations against Buckingham, and as a result no action has been taken. However, the investigation also did not find that the complaint was false or vexatious, or that it had been done for political reasons.

Buckingham has issued a statement in response to today’s events, leaning on the fact that the internal investigation did not find sufficient evidence.

“The allegations raised today were investigated by independent workplace investigation specialists – as per NSW Greens policy,” the statement reads. “There was no finding of any wrongdoing.”

He cited the investigation’s conclusions, which ruled no adverse findings against Buckingham.

“I’ve been democratically elected to the parliament and to the NSW Greens Legislative Council ticket by a ballot of all members,” the statement concludes, likely suggesting that Buckingham has no intention of stepping down at this present moment.

We’ll keep you updated.