WA Nationals to probe 'slut-shaming' claim

Michael Ramsey
·2-min read

West Australian Nationals leader Mia Davies says allegations made by her former deputy Jacqui Boydell of bullying, threats and "slut-shaming" are being taken very seriously.

Ms Boydell, who is retiring at the March state election, says she has been compelled to speak up about issues within her party following the airing of an ABC Four Corners investigation into the treatment of women by federal Liberal MPs in Canberra.

She has spoken of "continual undermining and back-stabbing" and being subjected to personal slurs by other Nationals MPs.

"I have remained silent on those issues in the interests of the party, and I have let myself down in the process," she told parliament.

"But worse than that, I have let down the women who stand behind me in the lay organisation who have also suffered these issues."

The WA Nationals state executive has met to discuss the issue and invited Ms Boydell to meet with Ms Davies and the party's president and state director.

"The party has to take the issue very seriously," Ms Davies told Perth radio 6PR on Thursday.

"Politics is known for its robust nature, but robust nature should never be an excuse for poor behaviour. Our organisation needs to continue to grow in terms of how we respond to these things."

Ms Boydell said she had attempted to deal with the issues internally before going public but that process had failed.

She added that she expected to face calls for her resignation.

Ms Boydell has declined to make public allegations against any specific individuals and Ms Davies said she was not aware of who they referred to.

She said the pair had introduced a code of conduct and complaints process under their leadership, which came to an end in February when Ms Boydell announced she would not contest the next election and stepped down as deputy.

Ms Davies said there were many "good and decent people" within the party and she had not experienced similar issues to the same extent.

"If you talk about individual moments, there are moments in my career where I can say they are not things that I would like to experience again," she said.

"But I'm not going to diminish Jacqui's experience by saying that I agree or disagree with her.

"That is her experience, that is what she has lived, she has expressed that and we need to deal with it."