Federal Minister Resigns After 'Sugar Daddy' Allegations
Explosive allegations made in a gossip magazine have led to a federal assistant minister stepping down.
Andrew Broad, the Nationals MP for Mallee, has resigned as assistant minister to the Deputy Prime Minister after claims of inappropriate behaviour were raised in New Idea by a younger woman.
The woman, said to be 20 years younger than Broad, claimed she had met him in Hong Kong after the two had connected on a 'sugar daddy' website.
Nationals deputy leader Bridge McKenzie is said to be "appalled" over recent scandals inside the party, which have included a staffer for a federal senator sending explicit text messages to a journalist.
A statement from the office of deputy PM Michael McCormack, the leader of the Nationals Party, announced on Monday that Broad would resign from his ministry position -- just hours after the claims were first published in the magazine.
"Mr McCormack said due to the nature of the allegations made, it is appropriate for Mr Broad to resign as the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister," the statement read.
"He also stressed the matter may also be subject to future investigation and further media comment on such detail is not appropriate."
In a later press conference, McCormack said the scandal would "distract" from the government's message.
Broad told New Idea he had reported the matter to police. McCormack said he had encouraged the MP to refer the matter to authorities.
"I have been advised that the person making the allegation may have engaged in criminal activity. This matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and I will not be making any further comment," Broad told New Idea.
10 daily has also contacted Broad for comment.
He will remain in parliament as the Member for Mallee.
McCormack said deputy leader McKenzie was "appalled with what's happened over the last couple of days", with Broad's resignation just the latest scandal to envelop the junior Coalition partner.
A staffer for senator Barry O'Sullivan was said to have accidentally sent angry text messages to a News Corp journalist -- the staffer has apologised and claimed they were sent to her in error, and were intended for another person, and he has been placed on indefinite leave to undergo counselling.
McCormack denied the party had a problem with women.
More to come.