THE Nationals don’t have a problem with women Barnaby Joyce says, pointing to the party’s lead senate candidates in both NSW and Queensland.
A number of recent events have led many to ask questions about the party’s relationship with women.
Malllee MP Andrew Broad will quit politics at the next election following revelations the married politician had dinner in Hong Kong with a young woman he met via a “sugar daddy” website.
Outgoing Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan caused outrage by suggesting senator Sarah Hanson-Young “had bit of Nick Xenophon in her”, while one of his staffers sent a female journalist an expletive-laden text message.
Former Nationals former candidate for the NSW seat of Orange, Yvette Quinn, says she was pressured to quit by party officials only a month after being pre-selected.
However, Mr Joyce said women were the backbone of the regional party.
“Our senate candidate for NSW, Perin Davey, is a great example of a highly-accomplished women who is now at the top of the National Party,” the New England MP said.
“Likewise, in Queensland, Susan McDonald is the top National Party candidate in the LNP senate ticket.
“They are both winnable positions, and they are both filled by not just accomplished women, but by accomplished people. They are a great addition to the political representation of the Nationals.”
Mr Joyce told The Australian he had received reports of alleged sexual indiscretions by Mr Broad, who criticised Mr Joyce over his affair earlier this year, when he was Nationals leader.
Mr Joyce said while he had heard the allegations when he was deputy prime minister, none were ever substantiated.
“Issues were brought to my attention but no complaints were ever made, so there was nothing to pursue because you can’t go chasing rumours,” Mr Joyce said.
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