Politician accused of bullying his staff and using his ‘size and voice’ to ‘berate and humiliate’ them stands down as he admits to being ‘too blunt and direct’
- NSW Labor MP Walt Secord said he was stepping aside on Monday morning
- Secord was hit by bullying allegations after a report into NSW parliament culture
- The high-profile MP has been with the Labor party for more than 30 years
- Secord accused of using his ‘size and voice’ to bully, berate and humiliate staff
Veteran NSW frontbencher Walt Secord is standing down from his shadow ministries following allegations he bullied staff in parliament.
The high-profile opposition police spokesman says he has considered the findings of a review into bullying and harassment in the NSW parliament and asked Labor Leader Chris Minns to let him stand aside.
The long-awaited independent report by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick found sexual harassment and bullying was rife in the NSW parliament and several people reported incidents of sexual assault while at work.
Veteran MP Walt Secord asked to stand down on Monday as bullying allegations are investigated
Accusations of bullying were levelled at Mr Secord after the report was released on Friday and he apologised for his behaviour in dealing with staff.
‘After long reflection and with more than 30 years in the Labor Party, I have asked NSW Labor leader Chris Minns to let me stand aside from the shadow ministry,’ the MLC said In a statement on Monday.
‘Chris, myself and the NSW Labor Party have committed to adopting the recommendations of the Broderick review and working across party lines to make the NSW Parliament and NSW politics a workplace we can all be proud of.
‘I fully support the Broderick Review and the change it will hopefully lead to.
‘But my remaining in the shadow ministry at this time has become a distraction from these major revelations and the important work that needs to be done,’ he said.
‘I will be making no further comment.’
A former staffer of Mr Secord’s told the ABC the politician would ‘use his size and voice to pressure, berate, intimidate and humiliate staff to get his own way’.
Mr Secord held the shadow ministries for the arts and heritage, police, counter terrorism and the north coast.
His apology on Friday acknowledged he could be ‘too blunt and too direct in a fast-paced workplace’.
‘Especially in dealing with strict deadlines and highly stressful situations in a time sensitive, highly pressurised environment,’ Mr Secord said in a statement.
‘If any parliamentary staff members feel my conduct in the workplace was unprofessional and caused offence or distress and was unacceptable, I unreservedly apologise.’
Mr Secord was also accused of bullying former Labor leader Jodi McKay’s (pictured) staff
He vowed to be ‘part of repairing the culture in state parliament’ and to address his ‘shortcomings’.
Education minister and deputy leader of the government in the Upper House Sarah Mitchell said Mr Minns had shown weak leadership by failing to remove Mr Secord from his portfolios.
‘I think it’s disappointing Chris Minns didn’t take action and sack him,’ Ms Mitchell said.
‘Mr Secord, on Friday, admitted to poor behaviour and apologised and said that he would would work on that – yet it still took several days for any action and that was Mr Secord choosing to stand aside.’