West Australian Nationals MP and political bigwig is charged with child sexual abuse offences
- James Hayward, 52, has been hit with charges relating to an eight-year-old girl
- Hayward faced court on Thursday but was not required to enter a plea
- He had worked as a journalist and had served as WA National’s state president
West Australian state Nationals MP and former federal party vice-president James Hayward has been granted bail after being charged with child sexual abuse offences.
Hayward, who was elected to WA’s parliament earlier this year, is facing multiple charges relating to an eight-year-old girl, including persistent sexual conduct.
The 52-year-old faced Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday and was not required to enter a plea. He was granted bail to reappear on December 13.
Opposition Leader Mia Davies is expected to address media later on Thursday.
Hayward, who holds the shadow local government, water and regional cities portfolios, was elected to represent the South West region in the Legislative Council at the March election. He has been absent from parliament this week.
West Australian state Nationals MP and former federal party vice-president James Hayward has been granted bail after being charged with child sexual abuse offences
He previously worked as a local councillor in Bunbury and a television journalist and served as the WA Nationals’ state president.
Hayward was one of three MPs earlier this year who voted against a government bill to prevent people from picketing within 150m of facilities that provide abortion services.
The WA Nationals assumed opposition status after Labor’s blowout victory in the March election left the Liberals with two lower house seats.
Under their opposition alliance, the Nationals and Liberals hold a combined 16 seats in the 95-seat parliament.
The West Australian newspaper reported earlier this year that Hayward’s television production company, Fiery Productions, had gone into liquidation over an alleged $440,000 tax debt.
Individuals convicted of persistent sexual conduct in WA face a maximum prison term of 20 years.
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Hayward, who was elected to WA’s parliament earlier this year, is facing multiple charges relating to an eight-year-old girl, including persistent sexual conduct