MP accused of homophobic comments at party
Several guests at a Parliament House Christmas party have prepared written statements claiming Liberal MP Sam Duluk made homophobic comments and are awaiting a request to hand them to investigators, Greens MP Tammy Franks says.
The new claims come as the besieged MP also battles allegations of sexual harassment and making a racial comment about Aboriginal Labor MP Kyam Maher at the party. On January 4, Mr Duluk apologised to "anyone" who was offended by his actions at the party and said he was seeking professional help over alcohol use.
Ms Franks said there were dozens of people at the party on December 13, including more than 10 who have important information but have not been approached to give it.
Speaking on Monday she said that included claims of homophobic comments, which have not been previously aired publicly, made toward a person at the party.
"I have had reports direct to me from staff in this building, also on the night of homophobic behaviour and commentary," she said. "The standard that you walk past, the standard that you sideline, the standard you make secret is the one you accept."
As The Advertiser revealed on Monday, Speaker Vincent Tarzia has oversight of who the private investigator interviews to establish facts of the evening. He has also asked people who are interviewed to keep those discussions strictly confidential.
Parliament returns tomorrow, but the report could yet be a fortnight away from completion. Mr Tarzia has not guaranteed it will be publicly released.
Ms Franks said she'd had text messages and conversations with people about the claims of homophobic comments to staff, and was "speaking up as an MP of this place to hold Sam Duluk accountable for his actions" and defend Parliament staff.
"These were first-hand accounts of the (alleged) behaviour and the words," Ms Franks said. "The very next working days, they wrote this down in a contemporaneous report."
She said the reports would "absolutely" be turned over to investigators if requested.
Mr Duluk has declined repeated requests to comment, but is expected to be at Parliament on Wednesday for the first day of sitting and a reopening ceremony.
Mr Tarzia has declined to comment on particulars of the investigation, but is preparing to make a statement to Parliament on Wednesday. He says a media statement from January 17, which said the inquiry would "endeavour to obtain full particulars as to what took place concerning the alleged conduct of Mr Duluk", is still applicable.
Premier Steven Marshall said any "further evidence" presented would be included in the investigator's report, to be completed soon.
"We have a process in place currently underway within the SA Parliament, my understanding is a report from the person conducting that report will be received fairly soon, we would like to get a full picture of exactly what occurred then we will take the appropriate action," Mr Marshall said.
"If there is further evidence to come forward that will be taken into account.
"Any person who was there has the opportunity to put forward that information to the Speaker for his consideration."
He said he was not aware of any formal complaint, which would trigger a potentially lengthy process in the Equal Opportunity Commission.
Opposition Deputy Leader Susan Close said Mr Marshall "has to step in".
"(He) needs to be clear about what occurred, and then he needs to issue the consequences," Dr Close said. "Enough is enough. In any other workplace, this person would be gone."