Scandal-hit Tasmanian Labor leader to quit

·1-min read

Tasmania's Labor opposition leader will resign after he was accused of sexually harassing a woman more than a decade ago.

David O'Byrne, who stood down from his post last week pending the outcome of an internal Labor party investigation, announced on Sunday he would tender his resignation as leader at the next party caucus meeting.

The Franklin MP said ongoing speculation about the alleged incident was not in the best interests of the party.

"The focus of the party needs to be on holding the Gutwein government to account and the current debate is a distraction from this central task," Mr O'Byrne said in a statement on Sunday.

"I have a life-long commitment to the cause of Labor and my decision to resign from the leadership reflects this."

The former trade unionist plans to remain in the Tasmanian parliament but won't be part of shadow cabinet.

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

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

He had previously issued a public apology, saying he thought the interactions were consensual at the time but now understood they were not.

The 52-year-old was elected as Tasmanian Labor leader in mid-June, taking over from Rebecca White after the party lost its third state poll in a row in May.

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