Labor candidate quits over a complaint about seven-year-old text messages and accuses members of his own party of sabotaging his campaign
- Tasmanian Labor election candidate Ben McGregor quit over texts complaint
- He attacked state Labor leader Rebecca White after pulling out of election
- He accused party members of weaponising outrage about treatment of women
Tasmanian Labor election candidate Ben McGregor quit over a complaint about text messages sent seven years ago
A Tasmanian Labor election candidate has quit over a complaint about text messages sent seven years ago and accused party members of weaponising outrage about the treatment of women.
Ben McGregor attacked the credentials of state Labor leader Rebecca White on Wednesday while announcing he was pulling out of the race for the Hobart seat of Clark.
‘Over the past couple of days, reactionary elements within the Tasmanian branch of the ALP have launched extraordinary attacks against progressive people in the party in an attempt to further their personal political agendas,’ he told reporters.
‘A complaint has been made to the Labor party by a person in relation to two text messages I sent seven years ago.
‘Though it does not allege sexual misconduct or sexual harassment, its purpose is appallingly clear.
‘The complaint seeks to pervert and weaponise the current justified public outrage about the treatment of women in this country for selfish, tawdry and political purposes.’
Mr McGregor did not reveal what was written in the text messages but said they were part of a broader conversation and banter between a group of friends.
‘At the time the person noted to myself, during the the conversation, that she felt uncomfortable with a word I used,’ he said.
‘At that time I apologised via text and noted that I would not use that word again with her.
Ben McGregor attacked the credentials of state Labor leader Rebecca White on Wednesday while announcing he was pulling out of the race for the Hobart seat of Clark
‘I then subsequently apologised in person the next chance I got and then again at a later time. This person has not complained about the text message in the six years following.’
It is the latest hurdle in Labor’s campaign to topple the Liberal government at the May 1 poll after a bitter internal preselection stoush came to a head on Tuesday.
Labor’s national executive was forced to intervene at Ms White’s request and endorse popular mayor Dean Winter as a candidate after he was snubbed during preselection.
Mr McGregor, the party’s state president, said proper internal processes around complaints had not been followed.
‘There has been no investigation. Witnesses have not been interviewed. I have not been afforded the basic courtesy of providing my side of the story,’ he said.
Mr McGregor did not reveal what was written in the text messages but said they were part of a broader conversation and banter between a group of friends
‘I’ve been accused internally, this information has then found its way into the media. This appears, for all intent, a smear campaign to hurt me and my nomination.
‘Rebecca has failed in providing leadership here. She has seen an opportunity to rid herself of factional challenge.
‘She has been more focused on ensuring a current mayor gets preselected than worry about her party or its members.’
Mr McGregor said he was contacted about the text messages on March 28 in an ‘aggressive and threatening’ Facebook message.
He said Ms White contacted him on Monday afternoon and told him he had to resign or she would publicly disendorse him.