A report has recommended the New South Wales Greens find there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a complaint that Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham sexually harassed a female parliamentary staffer.
- Ella Buckland made a complaint against Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham in April
- The Greens referred the complaint to an external company, WorkDynamic, to investigate the matter
- Mr Buckingham said in a press release WorkDynamic’s report had cleared him
But the former staffer, Ella Buckland, has hit back, telling the ABC the complaint was not properly investigated.
Her lawyer, Rory Markham said if the NSW Greens did not address the failings of the investigation, Ms Buckland would sue the party.
In April, Ms Buckland complained to the Greens Mr Buckingham had touched her inappropriately in 2011.
Ms Buckland told the ABC 7.30 program the incident happened after a night of drinking at Mr Buckingham’s house in Newtown.
She said she decided to go public with her allegations because she was dissatisfied with the way the NSW Greens had handled her complaint.
The Greens referred the complaint to an external company, WorkDynamic, to investigate her claims.
In a two-page document, headed “Advice of final recommendations”, WorkDynamic investigator Kate Peterson said there was not enough evidence to uphold the complaint, but recommended the Greens work with the Department of Parliamentary Services to improve induction, training and complaint procedures.
Ms Peterson said she was satisfied Ms Buckland went to Mr Buckingham’s house in Newtown with another woman and the group consumed alcohol for about 90 minutes.
But she concluded “there is insufficient evidence available to substantiate an occasion of the group leaving Mr Buckingham’s home and being on the street together or that the physical incident alleged occurred”.
Ms Buckland now has seven days to make written submissions to the NSW Greens convenor, Rochelle Flood, about the recommendations.
In a press release, Mr Buckingham said the findings had cleared him.
“I’m glad the day has finally arrived when I’ve been cleared,” he said. “It’s been incredibly difficult and damaging to have these false allegations made public and used by certain people to try to destroy me.”
But Ms Buckland’s lawyer, Mr Markham, said they were not satisfied with the recommendations and would pursue the complaint further.
“We will be having discussions with the NSW Greens convenor as to the limits and failings of this investigation, and if the matter is not resolved it will become the subject of civil litigation,” he said.
NSW Greens to take no further action
In a statement, the NSW Greens said the investigation process had not yet concluded and it was disappointed Mr Buckingham had pre-emptively released the findings.
Ms Flood said the party had planned to release the findings and recommendations next week, along with a statement, once Mr Buckingham and Ms Buckland had been given the opportunity to give feedback.
“The report does not make any finding that the complaint was false or vexatious, nor does it support Jeremy’s assertion that the complaint was made for political reasons,” Ms Flood said.
“Any claims to the contrary are inaccurate.”
She said the Greens would take no further action on the matter, unless additional information came to light.
“Greens NSW is mindful of the lessons arising from this process. Our party has committed substantial funding for training modules and workshops on responding to allegations of sexual assault and harassment,” Ms Flood said.
“We are also reviewing our policy on dealing with reports of sexual harassment.”