The Greens partyâ€™s failure to full disclose the details surrounding the employment and departure of their most senior adviser in Tasmania, Ronan Lee, has been criticised by the stateâ€™s Opposition Leader Will Hodgman in a statement released this afternoon:
McKim must answer questions about Lee resignation
The Minister for Human Services, Nick McKim, must fully disclose the details surrounding the employment and recent departure of his Head of Office, Ronan Lee.
It is not good enough for Mr McKim, who has made a career preaching for transparency in government, to evade answering questions.
Following the sudden resignation of Allison Ritchie in 2009 for â€œhealth reasonsâ€, Mr McKim â€œcalled on Premier Bartlett to disclose fully all details surrounding Ms Ritchieâ€™s departure.â€ (Nick McKim media release, 21 June 2009).
Mr McKim should display the same standards of transparency he demanded of Ministers when he was not in government.
Hodgman makes a good argument.
VEXNEWS can reveal that Mr Lee â€“ when a Queensland Member of Parliament â€“ was the subject of numerous serious allegations of sexual harassment relating to his behaviour with female members of his staff.
We cannot confirm whether his pattern of sexual misconduct continued in Tasmania in his role as a senior staffer.
These allegations were obliquely referred to in the Burnie daily newspaper The Advocate on the weekend whose crusading reporter Sean Ford has rightly questioned whether the Greens state Minister Nick McKim has been honest when he claimed his head of office departed because of health reasons when it is widely known not to be the real reason.
We have learned that the Queensland Parliament entered into a legal and financial settlement with one of Leeâ€™s former employees after she had threatened legal proceedings against him in relation to alleged sexual harassment.
In another case, we can reveal that it is well-known in Queensland political circles that Lee is believed to have slept with a member of his staff and impregnated her.
There are also stories â€“ recently made known to members of the famed VEXNEWS Investigations Unit â€“ that a number of young students from the University of Queensland â€“ in his then electorate â€“ served as volunteer â€œinternsâ€ in his office and that some made complaints about the propriety of his behaviour.
If the Greens won’t come clean on this scandal – involving the most senior adviser they had in government – then this investigation will continue. Many believe their Tasmanian leader Nick McKim and federal leader Senator Bob Brown need to step forward and reveal the full extent of what they knew and when they knew it about Mr Lee’s personal misconduct.