Fallen Nationals MP Andrew Broad is quitting politics to ensure he doesn’t remain a diminished figure and “half-laughing stock” in parliament, after a scandal involving a younger woman.
Mr Broad will not recontest his Victorian seat of Mallee following revelations the married MP travelled to Hong Kong and dined with a younger woman he met online, charging taxpayers for the domestic leg of the trip.
“I could probably have toughed it out and let the storm blow over, stepped back from the ministry and maybe could have won the seat … but for what?,” he told the Sunraysia Daily on Friday.
Mr Broad, who stepped down as assistant minister to the deputy prime minister after the scandal, says the incident was a “dumb mistake”.
A woman, named as “Amy”, claimed she met the married 43-year-old in November for dinner and he told her he was there for a conference but “shouldn’t have been here at all”.
The woman also claimed Mr Broad lied about his age, sent her numerous text messages that turned to a “more sexual nature” following the dinner and compared himself to “James Bond” .
Being in the public eye under the demands of parliament took its toll, the MP says.
“I’ve got to be honest; I’m happy to be stepping away,” he said.
“The job had made me not as nice a person.”
Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says people make mistakes.
“I feel really very sorry for Andrew Broad’s family and for him,” she told reporters in Adelaide on Friday.
“Plenty of people make mistakes in their personal lives and as long as they’re doing their job effectively, they should be given the opportunity of recovering from mistakes in their personal lives.”
National Party members will vote for a new candidate for Mallee on January 19, with deputy leader Bridget McKenzie counting out a run for the lower house spot.