South Australian MP Sam Duluk announces he will run as an independent at the next election
Embattled former Liberal MP Sam Duluk has abandoned hope of returning to the Liberal Party, telling the South Australian Parliament he will contest the March state election as an independent.
Last night, Greens MLC Tammy Franks used parliamentary privilege to unload a series of accusations about Mr Duluk's behaviour at a parliamentary Christmas party in 2019.
Ms Franks outline detailed allegations the Member for Waite engaged in sexual harassment, racism and homophobia on the night — claims Mr Duluk later said he refuted.
Mr Duluk was last month acquitted of assaulting SA Best MLC Connie Bonaros at the same Christmas party, although the magistrate found he had acted as a "drunken pest".
On Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament ruled out resuming a separate stalled investigation into Mr Duluk's behaviour, prompting Ms Franks to deliver her accusations in Parliament.
Mr Duluk delivered his own statement to Parliament this morning, saying the 20 months since the Christmas party had taken a significant toll on his family, health and wellbeing.
"I need this to stop," he said.
"I want to give the Parliament the dignity that it deserves and more importantly, I want to focus 100 per cent of my energy and commitment to serving the people of Waite.
"Therefore, I announce that I will be running as an independent at the next state election."
Mr Duluk said he would be running on a platform of "true Liberal values, appropriate fiscal management, protecting heritage and preserving our environment".
Outside Parliament, Mr Duluk said Ms Franks claims were "salacious" and designed to damage him politically.
"I completely refute her accusations and if she really truly believes those allegations, she should make those outside Parliament," he said.
Duluk's behaviour 'completely and utterly unacceptable': Premier
For days, Premier Steven Marshall has declined to answer questions about his own opinion on whether Mr Duluk should be readmitted to the Liberal Party.
But after the independent revealed he would not seek readmittance, Mr Marshall said he would not have supported his application.
Mr Marshall said the Liberal Party would field a candidate in the "very important seat" of Waite.
"I plan to make sure we're campaigning to retain the seat of Waite for the Liberal Party," he said.
"It's been a Liberal seat for an extended period of time. We expect to return it to the Liberal Party at the next election."
The seat, centred around Blackwood, was held by another Liberal-turned-independent, Martin Hamilton-Smith, before Mr Duluk.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks aired allegations under parliamentary privilege
"We know he was described as a 'drunken pest' in the courts in his harassment of her, but we also know that that was the tip of the iceberg," Ms Franks told Parliament yesterday.
"He said to a woman in this workplace, our workplace, her workplace, 'You've got big — a cuss word — for breasts.'
"Then he said, 'I'd like to — a word starting with f, with four letters — them.'"
"He said to a woman in this workplace, our workplace and her workplace, 'I know you're eff-ing him so you can eff me too'.
"He said to a fellow member of Parliament, about a member of this chamber, 'He is not a real Aboriginal.'
"My grandmother was raped in Mildura so maybe I am part Aboriginal.
"He asked a woman in this workplace, her workplace, if she was having sex with me, meaning me.
"He further asked that worker if myself and this woman were lesbians.
"He threatened a woman in this workplace who took a photo of him until she deleted that photo."
Ms Franks also used parliamentary privilege to allege "homophobic treatment" by Mr Duluk to a male parliamentary worker during a game of charades.