Jamie Briggs steps down from Turnbull goverment after complaints of 'inappropriate' behaviour

Mal Brough to 'stand aside' over involvement in Peter Slipper controversy
By @preciousvsilva on
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to reporters following a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama alongside the APEC summit in Manila, Philippines, November 17, 2015. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Liberal MP Jamie Briggs on Tuesday stepped down from the Turnbull government after reports surfaced regarding an incident involving a female public servant. The unnamed public servant has complained about Briggs' behaviour after she was invited for a private dinner in Hong Kong. 

A night out in Hong Kong turned badly for the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment following reported complaints on his behaviour. Briggs spoke about his resignation in a press conference.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also announced that Mal Brough  "will stand aside" in view of the ongoing Peter Slipper investigation. Brough is involved in the alleged copying of the diary of the former speaker.

"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," Turnbull said.

According to Briggs, he went to dinner with his chief of staff, inviting other employees as well. The Australian reported the female public servant is affiliated with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. After dinner, the woman, along with Briggs and his chief of staff, dropped by a bar for drinks. 

“We interacted between the three of us and with others in what I believed at the time was an informal manner,” explained Briggs in his resignation. 

“At the conclusion of the evening, the public servant left to return home and my chief of staff and I returned to our hotel together. 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 in fact did occur." 

Briggs added that a few days after the incident, the employee expressed concerns on his actions especially on their appropriateness. The former minister said that he already apologised to the employee. Briggs reflected that considering he was at a bar late night during an overseas visit is also not right for ministers. 

"I have concluded this behaviour has not met the particularly high standards for ministers. Therefore, the proper course of action for me is to resign.” He said. Briggs emphasised that nothing illegal took place during the night of incident. He and the prime minister talked before he submitted his resignation to Peter Cosgrove - the governor general.