I would kill to be sexually harassed at the moment: Liberal Teena McQueen stuns colleagues in closed door meeting – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: March 31, 2021 at 4:04 am

The meeting of senior female NSW Liberal Party officials was held on the afternoon of Friday, February 26, just hours before the NSW divisions state executive convened.

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The executive voted later that evening to adopt a new code of conduct that makes clear the party has zero tolerance for bullying, sexual harassment, vilification, physical violence and discrimination.

Nine people attended the meeting Ms McQueen, NSW state director Chris Stone, country representative Michelle Bishop, urban vice-president Penny George, womens council president Mary-Lou Jarvis, country representative Jemma Tribe, urban representative Michelle Byrnes, a junior party official and country vice-president Aileen MacDonald, who organised the meeting.

Several formal complaints about Ms McQueens comments were made after the meeting to Mr Stone and these have been discussed with Liberal Party federal director Andrew Hirst.

When Ms McQueens specific alleged comments were put to Mr Stone, he did not deny she had made them.

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Instead, a spokesman speaking on behalf of the federal and NSW Liberal parties said the matters youve raised are internal matters for the party and we are unable to comment.

Ms MacDonald had requested the meeting of women in the NSW branchs executive in the days after Ms Higgins came forward to come up with the beginnings of a cultural shift action plan, according to an email sent by Ms MacDonald to the group on February 20 and seen by the Herald and The Age.

But according to several people who attended the meeting, Ms McQueen seemed determined to shut down the discussion about the proposed code of conduct.

We were all left in shock, it was terrible, deplorable, one of those participants, who asked not to be named, said.

When we were talking about another aspect of the code she said cant we move on? and then she said, Lets talk about women not getting drunk at work. A few of us have made complaints.

Liberal Party federal director Andrew Hirst.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

A second participant said other people in the meeting were absolutely shocked, horrified, there arent enough words to describe how we felt.

I had gone in hoping it would be constructive but it was rail-roaded by those comments. Her views didnt represent those of the other people in the room.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the issue was a matter for the party.

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The Sun-Herald and The Age reported the Liberal Party had issued a gag order on officials speaking publicly about party affairs, with only federal president John Olsen and federal director Andrew Hirst authorised to make statements about federal party matters in the lead up to the next federal election.

The order is widely understood to have Ms McQueen, an outspoken conservative member of the party, as its target.

But Ms McQueen is refusing to stay silent, continuing to appear on television and saying: Do you think anyone could gag me?

Nick Bonyhady is industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based between Sydney and Parliament House in Canberra.

James Massola is political correspondent for the Sun-Herald andSunday Age. He was previously south-east Asia correspondent in Jakarta and chief political correspondent. Before that he was political correspondent for the Australian Financial Review.

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I would kill to be sexually harassed at the moment: Liberal Teena McQueen stuns colleagues in closed door meeting - Sydney Morning Herald

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