Queensland MP Peter Dowling steps down amid scandal over indecent images
Australian state lawmaker Peter Dowling has stepped down as the head of an ethics committee after being accused of sending raunchy pictures of himself to a woman, describing his actions as indefensible.
The allegations made against Mr Dowling, a member of Queensland state's ruling conservative Liberal National Party came after the Courier-Mail newspaper reported a woman claiming to be the politician's mistress had sent a letter detailing their two-and-a-half-year affair to state parliament speaker Fiona Simpson.
The newspaper alleges it had seen several explicit text messages exchanged between Dowling and the woman, including a picture of a penis resting in a glass of wine. The photo was accompanied by the message, “He wanted a Red Wine...”
Dowling is also accused of taking advantage of parliament business trips to meet the woman, whose name and identity remains unknown.
Dowling acknowledged he accepted more than 20,000 Australian dollars worth of free flight upgrades. Queensland's parliament exempts travel upgrades from its rules that politicians declare all gifts worth more than AU$500.
On Tuesday morning, Dowling, who has two children with his wife of 27 years, stood before his fellow lawmakers to offer a mea culpa.
“I owe my family an apology. I am sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused you,” he said. “I am not proud of the events plastered all over the paper. I can't and won't defend any part of it.”
However, he denied he had violated any disclosure rules, but would still stand down as ethics committee chairman and from the parliamentary crime and misconduct committee until an investigation by the Clerk of Parliament into his travel is complete.
The ethics committee handles complaints about the behavior of the state's politicians, and the crime and misconduct committee monitors the Crime and Misconduct Commission, an anti-corruption agency.
“In relation to the allegations made to the use of travel allowances, I can assure the House that I have complied fully with all the guidelines and requirements of the parliament,” he said in parliament. “However, I do not wish for this issue and for my family to be dragged through the media any longer than necessary. I will answer any questions, front any investigation.
“I don't want pity. I only ask that my family be left alone while this matter is considered by the clerk.”
Dowling may have a particularly tough time finding forgiveness in Queensland, a socially conservative state. Until the late 1980s, Queensland only allowed the sale of Playboy magazines that had been heavily edited to remove photos of exposed female genitalia.
The controversy over Dowling's actions has drawn comparisons to the sexting debacle surrounding New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Weiner is facing angry demands that he drop out of the race following an admission that he'd traded sexually graphic messages with women even after resigning from Congress two years ago for doing the same thing.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...