The lawyer representing a woman who made a complaint against Barnaby Joyce has confirmed it refers to “sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct”.
Emma Salerno is representing high profile Western Australian woman Catherine Marriott, who has made a complaint to the National Party about the outgoing deputy prime minister.
“The complaint made by our client related to an allegation of both sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct,” Ms Salerno told the ABC.
Mr Joyce’s office has been contacted about the new information, his media advisor and acting chief of staff did not respond to the ABC’s inquiries.
Last week, the National Party confirmed it had received a “sexual harassment” complaint against Mr Joyce.
When he announced his resignation on Friday Mr Joyce said there had been a “litany of allegations”.
“I don’t believe any of them have been sustained,” he told reporters in Armidale.
He said he had asked for Ms Marriott’s allegation to be referred to police.
“I’ve asked for the right of the person who’s made the allegation and I’ve asked for my right of defence that that be referred to the police,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said the sexual harassment allegation had led him to decide he could no longer sit on the Government’s frontbench.
“It’s quite evident that you can’t go to the dispatch box with issues like that surrounding you,” he said.
At the time Mr Joyce said he did not want to comment further.
“I can’t enter into any discussions about that,” he said.
“If it’s going before the courts, it is going to be before the courts, you would understand.”
His office provided a statement last Thursday after the harassment allegation was first reported by The Daily Telegraph, describing it as “spurious and defamatory”.
Mr Joyce indicated to some media outlets that he was seeking his own legal advice.
When contacted about the sexual misconduct allegation last night, National Party president Larry Anthony declined to comment further.
“We have been asked to keep this confidential and I intend to do so,” Mr Anthony said.
Nationals deny they leaked identity
Ms Marriott’s identity was revealed in News Corp reports on Saturday.
Ms Marriott has released a statement saying she “never intended for this issue to become public” and wants to wait for the internal investigation before taking any other action.
“I requested that a formal and confidential investigation into this incident be undertaken by the National Party to ensure there is accountability in relation to the incident I raise, and to prevent this type of inappropriate behaviour towards women in the future,” she said.
“This complaint was not made solely to address the incident against me – it is about speaking up against inappropriate behaviour by people in powerful positions.
“I will await the outcome of this investigation before determining any future action or commenting further.”
Nationals MP Andrew Broad told the ABC’s National Wrap he believed a Liberals MP had access to the sexual harassment complaint and Ms Marriot’s identity was not leaked to the media by the National Party.
“I was aware that a Liberals MP had access to it [information about the complaint],” Mr Broad said, declining to name the individual who had access.
Mr Broad praised the leadership of the National Party in its handling of the complaint against Mr Joyce.
“A person has to have confidence that they can bring a complaint forward and I believe, from what I have investigated, that the leadership of the National Party conducted themselves very accurately, very decently and confidentially in this instance,” Mr Broad said.