EXCLUSIVE: The Greens party are in turmoil and crisis with allegations that its senior party leadership has engaged in a cover-up “like the Catholic Church” for more than one year over its new incoming ‘star’ federal senator, Jordon Steele-John, who has been accused of being a serial sexual harasser.
- 22-year-old disability & youth advocate Jordon Steele-John destined for the Federal Senate alleged to be a serial sexual harasser of women
- Mr Steele-John refuses to answer questions put to him, including whether he sent series of “lewd and bizarre” messages because he was “horny and of the belief that women are playthings for your entertainment”
- Allegations that a cover-up of epic proportions stretching from federal party leader Richard Di Natale and down has taken place for over 12 months
- Greens leadership send threats of defamation to True Crime News Weekly rather than answering questions and then duck for cover when confronted by claims
- Party in turmoil amid accusations it lacks any proper processes on dealing with sexual assault as more cases emerge in other states including Victoria and Tasmania as well as reported incidents in NSW and ACT
– WARNING: DETAILED DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE. FOR HELP, VISIT HERE –
Jordon Steele-John perhaps looked like the ‘perfect candidate’ for the Greens. Mid-this year, the party had been left reeling from not one, but two, administrative disasters of birth rights and citizenship. And an ugly, always under-the-surface spat between ‘Watermelons’ and ‘Tree Tories’ within the party had seen the unofficial leaders of both factions – left-wing NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and GP-turned politico leader Richard Di Natale – come to public political blows. The presence of Mr Steele-John into the political arena also then seemingly came at an opportune time.
The 22-year-old disability and youth advocate had been for a while being groomed by senior elements of the Greens to be next-in-line to take a seat at the fast-travelling disaster that is Australian federal politics. Despite his own young age, Mr Steele-John was no novice. He was a seasoned political enthusiast and proven party go-getter, with his zeal for political life seeing him rewarded and placed third on the WA Greens ticket for the federal senate at the 2016 election.
And now, here he was either by ignorance or malice with a party hit by two shock resignations in a matter of days, Steven Bradbury-ing his way to a position where he would get a say in the lives of all Australians.
THE STANDARD OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICS AT THE MOMENT
After a bit of public dallying for a few days, by July 21, Mr Steele-John announced what seemed to be the inevitable next part of his destiny. He would soon be taking a seat along other luminaries of 21st century life such as town racist Pauline Hanson and DIY Christian / wannabe KKK party intern, Cory Bernardi.
According to the ABC late last month, Mr Steele-John was “under pressure” from “some in the Greens” for then-unexplained reasons “not to take up the vacant Senate seat”. At the time, Mr Steele-John rubbished the claims.
“Not at all. I’ve experienced the tremendous support of Scott [Ludlam] and Rachel [Siewert] and the entire WA parliamentary team and also the national parliamentary team through this process,” Mr Steele-John told the ABC on July 21.
A day earlier, Mr Steele-John had enthusiastically told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview billed as an “exclusive” that “I want to do this job” and ” I’m capable and ready to do this job”. Other advocates working in the disability sector were also calling on Mr Steele-John to take on the position with some believing that having a “self-identifying young man with a visible disability enter the Senate for the first time would be a real breakthrough for Australia”.
Mr Steele-John was born in the United Kingdom, but unlike his comrades – the cult Perth personality figure that was Scott Ludlam and Queensland dynamo Larissa Waters – he had assured everybody he had given up his royal birth rights to the mother country and was neither Kiwi nor Canuck. With or without his British accent, he would steer clear of Australia’s somewhat oblique laws in Section 44 of the Constitution governing federal seats of power and allegiances to foreign lands. Mr Steele-John did though have a strong connection to his dual New Zealand citizen colleague, referring to Mr Ludlam last month as “an incredible mentor and friend to me”. For the heck of it, the young man who was studying politics and history at Macquarie University by correspondence even had a wide smile and did it while going about in a wheelchair. He ticked plenty of ‘diversity’ boxes, some would cynically say. He was going to be the next Graham Edwards according to others, but unlike the former Labor MP, Mr Steele-John had not seen active duty in the ideological mess that was Vietnam. He has his legs, however does possess a mild form of cerebal palsy.
So, undoubtedly it seemed, here was an impressive young man who had surmounted some odds and was definitely going places. Canberra – the nation’s capital, it looked like – first of all.
There were many admirers. Even the usually reliable parliamentary watcher Michelle Grattan was a fan of Mr Steele-John’s political image. The veteran journalist and University of Canberra professorial fellow went to the great extent of publicly lobbying for him in the media to enter the federal senate. She did so in an article literally telling the “Greens should press Jordon Steele-John to stay in Senate seat he is set to get”. That was the whole, entire headline.
“His presence would send a strong and positive message to others with a disability. If he did well as a senator, he would be an inspiration to them,” Ms Grattan wrote for The Conversation on July 17.
“It would be a hard slog and one can understand that he and the party would prefer he had a few more years under his belt before starting down the road. But in politics you can’t necessarily choose your timing.
“The Greens should be pressing Mr Steele-John to stay in the seat that everyone assumes will come his way.”
But looks can be deceiving. And claims of being a ‘inspiration’ in politics can sometimes be a mask for something more sinister.
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True Crime News Weekly can exclusively reveal this week that Jordon Steele-John is at the centre of a long-running and now wide-ranging Greens cover-up over allegations he is a serial sexual harasser of young women. Mr Steele-John has been accused of engaging in serial sexual harassment against at least two young female members of the Greens in Western Australia.
Mr Steele-John is alleged to have sent “a series of lewd, creepy and sexually harassing messages” between May and August 2016 to at least two young women over social media sites such as Facebook. There are also claims that images may have been attached to some of the messages that were sent. Both women are members, like Mr Steele-John, of the WA Greens.
True Crime News Weekly has contacted one of the young women who became a target of Mr Steele-John’s alleged sexual harassment. She refused to publicly comment to True Crime News Weekly, however sources within the party claim that both victims of Mr Steele-John’s “persistent” sexual harassment remain upset by the matters and how it has been handled by party leadership. The allegations have been described as a “near-open-secret” by some sources in The Greens, with members in the far-removed states of Victoria and NSW having knowledge of the claims surrounding Mr Steele-John.
The Greens federal party leader Richard Di Natale is alleged to have known about the claims for over a month, while party leadership in Mr Steele-John’s home state of Western Australia, are said to have covered up the allegations for more than 12 months.
True Crime News Weekly has been provided with a list of names of senior party bureaucrats and MPs who have known about the claims stretching back to last July but seemingly for one reason or another have chosen to look the other way, or, not take appropriate action. The list includes the names of national Greens convener, Giz Watson, WA Greens convener, Grahame Bowland, as well as WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert and even Greens MP Jenny Leong, who presides over the Sydney inner-west seat of Newtown all the way across the country in New South Wales. It is alleged that “all of the party room” in Canberra are also aware of the red flags that have been signalled about Mr Steele-John following the allegations.
The list and message sent to True Crime News Weekly in full reads:
“Grahame Bowland, Nicole Harvey, Sophie Greer, Giz Watson, Rachel Siewert, Rose Newbury-Freeman, Sarah Nielsen-Harvey, Jenny Leong. All of the leaders office, and I think all of party room,” the internal Greens party source told True Crime News Weekly.
“Then there are other periphery friends that probably know, but I wouldn’t like to name them and they’re not office-bearers. Apparently Lesa [de Leau] and Debbie [Gibson] in NSW know as well.”
True Crime News Weekly has learnt that former WA Greens co-convener, Sarah Nielsen-Harvey, quit her position just a few weeks ago, apparently over the handling of the matters. True Crime News Weekly understands the victims of Mr Steele-John’s alleged sexual harassment first approached the WA Greens back in July 2016, with reports being made to WA Greens officials, Sophie Greer and Nicole Harvey. Ms Nielsen-Harvey would not return phone calls or text messages sent by True Crime News Weekly. Sources have said that Ms Nielsen-Harvey has likely been warned by party leadership and other officials “to shut up” so as not to damage The Greens’ reputation.
True Crime News Weekly sent a series of questions on the matters to leading Greens figures in federal politics; including the likes of party leader Richard Di Natale, Lee Rhiannon, Sarah Hanson-Young, Adam Bandt, Peter Whish-Wilton, Janet Rice, and Nick McKim. The message was also sent to Newtown MP, Jenny Leong, and senior NSW Greens bureaucrat, Lesa de Leau.
All of them were asked on what they knew about the matters while also being asked to reflect on whether there own actions could be considered best-practice or ethical. True Crime News Weekly also asked whether accusations that senior elements of the party had acted “like the Catholic Church” in brushing aside and sweeping under the carpet serious claims of sexual assault, harassment and rape were apt.
Apart from the accusations surrounding Mr Steele-John, True Crime News Weekly can reveal that complaints of sexual assault or harassment have been made against members of the party in NSW, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania.
True Crime News Weekly did not receive a response back from any of the MPs or senior party figures we contacted. Neither were our requests which were sent by text message for an interview with Mr Di Natale responded to or granted.
Instead, a bizarre and seemingly ominous threat of defamation was sent to True Crime News Weekly by the WA Greens and signed off by its convener, Grahame Bowland. In the message, Mr Bowland saw fit to label the credible and long-running allegations against Mr Steele-John as only “smears”.
“The Greens (WA) are not aware of any complaints of criminal actions such as those you allege. Baseless allegations of this kind are seriously defamatory,” Mr Bowland wrote in an email addressed to True Crime News Weekly on July 31.
“If you publish baseless allegations against our members, they will have full recourse to the law in vindicating their reputations in the face of such smears.”
Despite evidence to the contrary across a number of Australian states and territories, Mr Bowland then went on to claim that the Greens took allegations of sexual assault “extremely seriously”. Seemingly within the next breath, Mr Bowland then claimed only police should really ever be involved in matters of sexual harassment or assault.
“The Greens take allegations of sexual harassment, and even more, sexual offences and rape, extremely seriously,” Mr Bowland wrote.
“Any allegations of criminality should be referred to the police.”
Mr Bowland would not answer questions on what actions he himself took against Mr Steele-John in his position as “lead administrator” when he was made aware of the claims last August. Mr Bowland held a supposedly “sit down, confidential meeting” with both victims where the women “officially” raised their concerns and told of their distaste and fear following on from Mr Steele-John’s actions between May and August last year.
The Greens national convener, Giz Watson, however is believed to have said she “doesn’t think this issue is / will be that big a problem” when she was made aware of the allegations against Mr Steele-John, according to one source who contacted True Crime News Weekly.
A source within the Greens said the threats of defamation made against True Crime News Weekly were a desperate move by a party in crisis.
“They won’t be able to move defamation,” the internal Greens party source informed True Crime News Weekly.
“Too many people would block the decision, and even some MPs have said that if pushed they’d have to tell the truth.”
Another source described the behaviour of the WA Greens as having “gone down the path of Jeremy Buckingham defamation strategy”. The comment is in reference to the NSW Greens MP who has threatened some people with defamation action if they discuss his links and working relationship with the recently “indefinitely suspended” but not yet expelled NSW Greens campaigner and alleged prolific rapist, Jarah Crook.
JARAH CROOK FINALLY SPEAKS: EXCLUSIVE! “I deny all the allegations”: Alleged ‘Greens rapist’ threatens “legal action” over “hurtful” claims
Sources within the NSW Greens told True Crime News Weekly that the allegations surrounding Mr Steele-John had travelled far and wide across party networks. The source said there was anger amongst some quarters at how there seemed to be a move to “purge the party of leftists” while seemingly protecting or promoting alleged sex offenders and sexual harassers.
Over the past few weeks, True Crime News Weekly has investigated how and why Mr Crook was consistently promoted to higher and higher positions within the NSW Greens party despite credible claims of sexual assault, harassment and rape stretching back to 2011. Victims also claim that their reports and complaints were simply ignored or fell on deaf ears.
Startlingly, there are now credible claims of Mr Crook being involved in acts of political corruption or significant breaches of privacy on behalf of sitting NSW Greens MP, Dawn Walker. True Crime News Weekly has been provided physical evidence and will soon reveal more details about those allegations too. Suffice to say, Ms Walker refused to speak about the claims when confronted by the allegations while her office would only offer a weakly-spoken “no comment” when finally reached by telephone this week. It is likely the claims will soon be referred to ICAC. It has also been revealed to True Crime News Weekly that Mr Crook may not be the only sexual predator or sexual harasser operating inside the NSW Greens.
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In the case of Mr Steele-John, some senior elements of the party even voluntarily brought up his name (“Is this about Jordon?” one asked) when initially questioned by True Crime News Weekly. Some sounded relieved that Mr Steele-John’s alleged behaviour was finally going to come to public attention at the very least.
“This can’t go on,” one source in Victoria said plainly. “Especially not with him becoming a federal senator.”
In Victoria, a gay man has come forward with claims that he and his partner were “homophobically” and “sexually harassed” by a female staffer to a Greens MP, with the woman in question being described as a “serial sexual harasser”. Both men have been long-time supporters of the party.
“I can no longer remain silent,” the man wrote in response to a Saturday Paper investigation into claims over a Greens party cover up of sexual assault in the ACT.
“I am a former member of the Australian Greens Victoria and was sexually harassed on 4 August 2015.
“The party completely mishandled the investigation, ignored evidence, wrote a whitewash of a report, and covered up for a staffer to an MP who homophobically sexually harassed me.
“I know that the same person who harassed me is a serial sexual harasser. This is because she also sexually harassed my partner.
“I can no longer remain silent while this political party damages and hurts innocent people. It must end.”
The man then further went on to write on social media, while tagging the Australian Greens party Facebook page:
“You said in this article that you have asked each and every state party to review their procedures and practices. The AGV [Greens Victoria] completely mishandled my complaint.
“Will you be insisting they overhaul their thoroughly incompetent processes, to make sure no man or woman is ever subjected to sexual harassment?
“Will you also demand the MP that is protecting this staffer to sack them, and the party to terminate their membership.
“Anything else less than this turns the party into a mockery.”
The headline of the Saturday Paper article the man had shared on Facebook read: “Greens fail on sexual assault allegation”.
A source within the party in NSW told True Crime News Weekly they were exasperated by party structures that could see certain types of people expelled from the party but seemingly not alleged sex offenders or sexual harassers.
“The party has recently expelled a guy for believing in anti-immigrant, sustainable population ideas but it apparently can’t do anything about alleged sex offenders or even alleged violent rapists like Jarah,” the source said.
“It’s likely Jarah still has the personal information of so many Greens party members. He would have kept all of it for himself which means it’s likely he has the personal information of even some of his alleged victims.
“And all of this comes at a time when there’s moves from Di Natale and his supporters to purge leftists from the party. But all the while elevating alleged sex offenders for some reason.”
On August 4, six weeks after True Crime News Weekly contacted him for the first time with a series of questions, Mr Crook finally sent a response about the allegations made about him.
“I deny all the allegations.” he wrote in an email addressed to True Crime News Weekly.
“I will be perusing legal action because this has been hurtful for my friends and family.
“In Australia, justice is served through our established justice system. It can not be served through social media lynch mob.
“I expect you to include a version of the above in the stories published online.”
True Crime News Weekly sent Mr Steele-John a series of questions via his personal Facebook page. It can be confirmed that Mr Steele-John saw the message. We also contacted the party’s media liasion officer listed for him. Mr Steele-John and his colleagues though refused to comment to queries including on whether he had ever apologised to the women he had allegedly targeted. He refused to say what may have motivated him to send the series of “persistent” messages to the young women that have been described by various sources as “lewd and creepy”. Mr Steele-John would also not comment about his views on claims of a culture of cover up within the Greens party over matters pertaining to sexual assault and harassment.
The timing of the revelations hitting The Greens come in a week where a landmark report was released by the Australian Human Rights Commission on the huge failures of supposedly more progressive institutions such as universities on dealing with issues to do with rape and sexual violence. Patterns have emerged where the hierarchy of such organisations almost-automatically responds with antagonism and anxiety over its own “brand and reputation” rather than long-lasting care or due concern for survivors or indeed, even murder victims such as Annette Morgan, who in 1977, was raped and killed on the grounds of St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney. Indeed, the report itself was only produced because of lobbying by student activists, largely feminists, dating back decades who have alleged the existence of a rape culture that is actively covered up by senior leadership personnel at tertiary institutions.
True Crime News Weekly notes that some Greens MPs used social media to publicly discuss the publication this week of the major report highlighting widespread sexual abuse and harassment within tertiary campuses across Australia. One hopes Greens MPs and others within the party studiously pore over its findings in light of current goings-on closer to home. And, if outside expertise is required to help sort out similar issues afflicting the party, the Greens should accept such assistance. For his part, Mr Steele-John did not comment on his views about the cover-ups of sexual harassment and sexual violence that have taken place at campuses across Australia when asked to do so by True Crime News Weekly.