The woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the disgraced former Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce, says she is “extremely disappointed” and “dismayed” that an eight-month long investigation by the Nationals party has reached a “no conclusion” verdict apparently due to a lack of “sufficient evidence”.
Highly respected WA agricultural figure, Catherine Marriot, has labelled the entire experience as “extremely harrowing” after an internal investigation by the Nationals has found former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has apparently no case to answer.
Ms Marriot had alleged Joyce had sexually harassed her outside Canberra’s Kurrajong Hotel in August 2016.
Ms Marriott – a Broome councillor and a former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year – said she is however not surprised by the results of the investigation as no “professional external expert” was ever brought in to deal with the case.
“This is despite the investigation finding I was ‘forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset’ by the incident. The result of this investigation has underpinned what is wrong with the process and the absolute dire need for change. This outcome simply isn’t good enough,” Ms Marriott said in a statement.
“I’m extremely disappointed that after eight months of waiting, three trips to the east coast at my own expense to meet with the Party, my name and confidential complaint being leaked to the national media and my personal life being upended, the National Party have reached a ‘no conclusion’ verdict.”
True Crime News Weekly has been informed that one of the key people involved in the Nationals’ investigation was senior party figure Bede Bourke. Mr Bourke is considered a close political ally of Joyce.
The Nationals have released a brief statement confirming the investigation has now been completed.
“The National Party of Australia – NSW has finalized [sic] the investigation into a complaint made under its harassment policy against the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP,” the statement reads.
“The Report will be kept confidential. The complainant and respondent have both been communicated with and advised of the outcomes.”
Earlier this year, Joyce had referred to Ms Marriot’s allegations as being “spurious and defamatory”.
Today, he told Fairfax Media he didn’t wish to talk about the matters.
“I’m not going to enter into any further discussions on this matter,” he said.
“I’ve been informed of the party’s findings and that’s it … I’m going to move on from this ASAP.”
Ms Marriot had filed her complaint with the Nationals in mid-February, around the time mainstream media picked up on the groundbreaking investigations True Crime News Weekly had been publishing since October 2017 on various scandals surrounding Joyce. Her name was leaked to the media, thought to be by persons close to the investigation.
Joyce was eventually forced to resign as Nationals leader and as Deputy PM following intense media and public pressure over his relationship with pregnant staffer, Vicki Campion.
In March, it was reported that the Nationals had been handed a dossier which included 10 separate complaints of incidents of sexual misconduct allegedly involving Joyce. The disgraced politician labelled the reports “patently absurd” at the time.
In his own turgid memoirs Weatherboard and Iron released a month ago, Joyce admits he spent a large part of his time as an MP drunkenly “wandering and getting close” to women other than his now-separated wife, Natalie.
Ms Marriot says the only good thing to have come out of the entire investigation has been “the development of a much improved policy” for how the Nationals deal with complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Today’s developments come after a number of senior female Liberal Party MPs have openly spoken out about bullying by their male colleagues during the turbulence surrounding the knifing of deposed prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.