After an eight month investigation, the Nationals have reportedly failed to reach a verdict over sexual harassment allegations previously made against former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Catherine Marriot, the Western Australian who filed a complaint against Joyce in February, released a statement on the matter on Friday. She said she had been contacted by the National Party informing her it had “been unable to make a determination” due to insufficient evidence.
“This is despite the investigation finding I was ‘forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset’ by the incident,” Marriott said, according to the publication. “The result of this investigation has underpinned what is wrong with the process and the absolute dire need for change. This outcome simply isn’t good enough.”
Meanwhile, the Nationals also released a public statement explaining the report against Joyce had been finalised and that everyone involved had been contacted.
“The National Party of Australia – NSW has finalised the investigation into a complaint made under its harassment policy against the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP,” the statement read. “The Report will be kept confidential. The complainant and respondent have both been communicated with and advised of the outcomes.”
The allegations against Joyce were part of the reason he resigned as deputy PM and were made following news that Joyce had had an affair with former staffer Vikki Campion. Despite her best efforts, Marriott’s identity was leaked to the media during the time.
Earlier this year, Joyce called the allegations “spurious and defamatory”. He also insisted the claims of sexual harassment be referred to the police so he could defend himself.
“It’s quite evident that you can’t go to the dispatch box while issues like that are outstanding,” he said at the time, adding that he wanted his party to have clear air to represent the people of small towns across Australia.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald claims Marriott was disappointed by the results and that she had to wait months for an outcome. She also claimed the complaint was handled internally and that external experts weren’t brought in to handle the matter.
“I was not prepared to walk past this kind of behaviour any longer,” she reportedly added. “I am pleased I stood up for what I believed was right and I’m proud I found the courage to make a difference for other people who want to create influence through political circles in future.”
The allegations claimed an incident occurred between Joyce and Marriott in 2016. Meanwhile, Joyce told Fairfax he wouldn’t be talking about the matter any further, insisting he would move on from it as soon as possible.