Outrage over Capricornia MP’s reaction to latest sex scandal
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry has sparked a storm of controversy after saying she felt "bad" for a Liberal staffer who was sacked after allegedly committing a sex act on the desk of a female politician.
Reports of male senior government staff performing sex acts inside Parliament House in Canberra were revealed in a story that aired on Channel 10 on Monday night.
Ms Landry, the assistant minister for children and assistant minister for Northern Australia, weighed into the issue outside Parliament on Tuesday morning.
"The young fellow concerned… he was a really good worker and he loved the place," she said.
"I feel bad for him about this, but it's unacceptable behaviour."
The video of Ms Landry's comments were posted on Twitter by Tegan George, a federal politics reporter with Channel 10.
It had been viewed 27,400 times by 10.15am Tuesday, with 299 retweets and 265 comments.
Labor senator Kristina Keneally fired back when Ms Landry's comments were put to her while she was doing a press conference minutes later in the Parliament House press gallery.
"She said she feels bad for him because he loved working here. That is what Michelle Landry said?" Senator Keneally said.
"How about feeling bad for the cleaners who had to come in and clean after that disgusting mess? How about feeling bad for the female MP whose desk was disrespected?
"I am left without words that this is the response from Michelle Landry. Honestly, left without words."
But Ms Landry later posted on her Facebook page that the reporting of her comments was "very selective" and did not accurately represent what she said.
She said her comments reflected her concern for the staffer's mental health and she did not believe in "joining the national pile-on" in regards to a staff member who had been rightfully dismissed for his actions.
She also posted her full quote:
"I was horrified when I saw that last night. I think there is a real behaviour problem in this place and that we have to address it.
"I am certainly strict about what goes on in my office. I don't think people should be here after hours unless they are working and there needs to be a strict code on that.
"In saying that, the young fellow concerned was a good worker and he loved the place. I feel bad for him about this, but it's unacceptable behaviour by anyone and it should not happen in workplaces like this.
"This is the federal Parliament of Australia and people should behave themselves."