National Party member Andrew Broad has resigned as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, who is also leader of the National Party. His resignation arises from his direct involvement with the ‘sugar daddy’ texting scandal, whereby he used a dating app to meet with women overseas.
Mr Broad has been forced to resign following published allegations that he used a dating website to meet with younger women while travelling overseas for work. Initially, Mr Broad brought the matter to the attention of the Australian Federal Police on November 8, however, the AFP found that no offences had been committed.
The allegations were published in a New Idea article, which quoted a woman named “Amy”, who claims she had dinner with Mr Broad in a restaurant in Hong Kong. According to the article, she is almost 20 years younger than the federal MP for Mallee.
When questioned about the incident, Deputy Prime Minister McCormack commented that he had learnt about the incident prior. He clarified this later, however, upholding that he had known that Mr Broad had attended a personal date with an individual in Hong Kong. Mr McCormack believed that the incident concerned Mr Broad and his family only.
Nonetheless, given the apparent backlash to Mr Broad’s conduct, Deputy Prime Minister McCormack deemed it appropriate that Mr Broad resign from his position in the ministry. At this time, Mr Broad will continue in his role as the federal MP for Mallee, however, he has released a statement claiming that he will not contest the seat of Mallee at the next election. Mallee is considered one of the safest National seats, with a margin of 20 per cent.
The controversy has been worsened by the fact that Mr Broad is married and was one of the first parliamentarians to call for Barnaby Joyce to resign following his controversial relationship with advisor, Vikki Campion. More importantly, the controversy could not have come at a worse time for the Morrison Government, which is still battling to salvage public opinion and support due to a perceived lack of leadership stability.