Two Ministers resign
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accepted the resignations of two Cabinet Ministers following inappropriate behaviour by both men.
The Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs, resigned after a female civil servant complained about his behaviour towards her in a bar in Hong Kong late at night during a foreign trip. The minister explained that he had apologised to the civil servant and said in his resignation statement that “At no point was it my intention to act inappropriately and I’m obliged to note for the record that nothing illegal has been alleged or did in fact occur.”
Mal Brough, the Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science is standing down pending an investigation in which he is accused of illegally obtaining copies of former Speaker Peter Slipper’s diary in 2012. At the time the Speaker was involved in a sexual harassment case which was later dropped.
The formal statement about the two ministers and their replacements as published on the Prime Minister’s website is as follows:
29 December 2015
The Hon Jamie Briggs MP
The Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, has resigned from the ministry.
As Mr Briggs has noted in his public statement, Ministers are expected to uphold high standards of behaviour as set out in the Ministerial Standards. On this occasion his conduct fell short of that standard. After being invited to reflect on his position, he offered his resignation which I have accepted.
While disappointed by the conduct that led to his resignation, I thank Mr Briggs for his capable service as a Minister.
I look forward to Mr Briggs continuing to make a valuable contribution to the work of the Government in the future.
The Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Greg Hunt MP, will act as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment.
The Hon Mal Brough MP
The Hon Mal Brough MP and I have agreed that he will stand aside as Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science pending the completion of inquiries by the police.
The Minister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, will act as the Special Minister of State, and the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, will act as Minister for Defence Materiel and Science.
In offering to stand aside Mr Brough has done the right thing, recognising the importance of the Government maintaining an unwavering focus on jobs, economic growth and national security.