Tasmanian Labor candidate Ben McGregor has resigned his state election bid over ‘inappropriate’ text messages sent seven years ago.
Mr McGregor – the state chairman of the party that occupied Clark’s seat – has targeted others within his party, accusing them of “militarizing” outrage at the treatment of women for what ‘he described as’ selfish, tawdry and political’. purposes ”.
“A complaint has been lodged with the Labor Party by someone about two text messages I sent seven years ago,” Mr McGregor said today.
“While he does not allege sexual misconduct or sexual harassment, his purpose is terrifyingly clear.
“The complaint appears to pervert and militarize the current justified public outrage over the treatment of women in this country for selfish, far-fetched and political ends.”
Mr McGregor said forces within the Labor Party were trying to get revenge for the treatment of right-wing faction candidate Dean Winter.
Mr. McGregor, from the left faction, had strong backing from the Health and Community Services Union.
Flanked by his pregnant wife and representatives from the Health and Community Services Union, McGregor told media the complaint centered on a text conversation between “a bunch of friends at the time, including jokes to and from the person involved ”.
He said the person was a colleague with whom his family became close friends.
The friendship disintegrated later, he said, but it had sustained his last tilt in politics when he ran for the House of Representatives.
“The whole conversation was full of dark humor and was part of our conversations more broadly,” said Mr. McGregor, a social worker.
“At that point, the person noticed during the conversation that they felt uncomfortable with a word I was using. At that point, I apologized via text message and noted that I would not use that word with her again.
“I then apologized in person for the next chance I got, and then again later.”
McGregor asked to step down from his candidacy
“On Monday April 5, a signed dec stat was received at Labor House,” he said.
“I understand that Secretary of State Stuart Benson and Leader Rebecca White have met this person.
“I was contacted on Monday… at 4:30 pm Monday, I was contacted by Rebecca and told me I had to resign from my appointment or she would disapprove of me.”
He accused Mr Benson and Ms White of failing to follow proper work processes and joining a smear campaign.
“Rebecca has failed to provide leadership here,” said McGregor.
“She saw an opportunity to shake off the challenge of factions. She was more concerned with getting a certain mayor pre-selected than worrying about his party or its members.
That mayor is Kingborough’s Dean Winter – shortlisted to Franklin headquarters just yesterday after a nationwide intervention.
“I ask how many of you sent a text that you maybe regretted six or seven years ago,” Mr. McGregor said.
“I never denied what happened, or that it was inappropriate, and I apologized.”