Calls grow for Tas Labor leader to quit

·2-min read

Pressure is mounting on Tasmania's Labor opposition leader David O'Byrne to stand down permanently after he was accused of sexually harassing a woman more than a decade ago.

Mr O'Byrne, who was only elected to the role a fortnight ago, stepped aside earlier this week pending the outcome of an internal Labor party investigation.

It is alleged he sent inappropriate texts to a junior employee and kissed her twice without consent when he worked for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.

Mr O'Byrne has issued a public apology saying he thought at the time the interactions were consensual but now understands they were not.

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor has said Mr O'Byrne's position as opposition leader is no longer tenable.

Independent lower house MP Kristie Johnston went one step further on Friday.

"Mr O'Byrne has admitted the conduct. His position is untenable and he must resign from parliament," she said in a statement.

"I call on the parliamentary Labor Party to do the right thing and speak out condemning his behaviour and act to support the complainant.

"Women must feel safe to raise these allegations, they must be supported, and they deserve to see that this behaviour is not tolerated."

The allegations against Mr O'Byrne date back to 2007 and 2008.

Ms O'Connor told parliament that state Labor MP Ella Haddad knew about the allegations at the time.

Ms Haddad released a statement to The Mercury newspaper saying the woman had told her about experiences she had while working at the union but asked her not to share the information.

"It is every woman's right to decide if and when they come forward with allegations themselves," Ms Haddad said.

Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein, whose party was returned for a record third term at the May 1 poll, said Labor had some "serious matters" in front of it.

Mr Gutwein was criticised for standing by candidate Adam Brooks during the election campaign after he was accused by two women of catfishing them online.

Mr Brooks was elected in the northwest but stood down shortly before polls were declared after revealing to the premier he was facing weapons charges in Queensland.

An independent review into Tasmania's parliamentary workplace was called for in May by upper house member Meg Webb.

Mr Gutwein revealed state Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt would lead the review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Terms of reference are likely to be finalised next week, he said.

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