Councillor ‘beyond grateful’

Jakeb Waddell and Nick EvansBroome Advertiser
WA's Catherine Marriott was awarded runner-up in the 2012 National Rural Industries R & D Corporation's Rural Women's award. Photo: Supplied. 09/10/12
Camera IconWA's Catherine Marriott was awarded runner-up in the 2012 National Rural Industries R & D Corporation's Rural Women's award. Photo: Supplied. 09/10/12 Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The Kimberley woman who lodged a formal complaint of sexual harassment against former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has sent out a message of thanks to the community, after the NSW branch of the Nationals party dismissed her allegations.

Shire of Broome councillor Catherine Marriott said she was “beyond thankful” for the support of the community throughout the ordeal.

“One of the wonderful things about living in a small community is that when you go through something difficult, they come out to support you,” she said.

“I am so grateful, particularly to Shire president Harold Tracey and the other councillors, for the support and help they have given me.

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“I am looking forward to continuing to focus on helping to lead the community of Broome the best way that I can and growing regional Australia.”

Ms Marriott released a statement last fortnight saying she had been advised the NSW Nationals branch had found it was unable to make a determination on her complaint because it lacked evidence to make a finding, despite the report finding her evidence was “forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset” about the incident.

Mr Joyce has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Marriott said in the statement she was “extremely disappointed” the panel had not made any conclusions about her complaint, saying the decision highlighted the enormous flaws in the Nationals’ internal processes.

“I’m extremely disappointed that after eight months of waiting, three trips to the east coast at my own expense to meet with the party, my name and confidential complaint being leaked to the national media, and my personal and professional life being upended, the National party have reached a ‘no conclusion’ verdict,” she said.

“The only positive to come from this harrowing experience has been the development of a much- improved policy by the party that I volunteered to contribute towards and strongly encouraged the development of.”

In a brief statement the NSW Nationals confirmed it had finalised its investigation, and said the final report would not be released.

The former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year lodged her sexual harassment allegation against Mr Joyce at the height of the controversy over his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.

Cr Marriott thought she was making a confidential complaint to the National party, but details were leaked and the issue became entangled in the media frenzy surrounding Mr Joyce’s leadership, eventually leading to his resignation as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister.

Mr Joyce said he stood by the comments he made in February, when news of the allegation broke, and had nothing to add.

In February he described the allegations as “spurious and defamatory”.

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