Barnaby Joyce at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Barnaby Joyce at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith

Joyce accuser says Nationals verdict ‘not good enough’

THE West Australian woman who accused Barnaby Joyce of sexual harassment has blasted the National Party for its investigation after it failed to make any finding about the case after an eight-month probe.

Catherine Marriott was informed by the NSW National Party yesterday that there was "insufficient evidence" to make a determination on the case.

In an angry statement today, Ms Marriott has slammed the party saying: "This outcome simply isn't good enough."

Mr Joyce, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader, has repeatedly rejected the allegations. He labelled the claim "spurious and defamatory".

This afternoon, a spokesman for Mr Joyce said he "stands by the statement he made in February regarding these allegations and has nothing further to add."

"I'm extremely disappointed that after eight months of waiting, three trips to the east coast at my own expense to meet with the party, my name and confidential complaint being leaked to the national media, and my personal and professional life being up-ended, the Nationals have reached a 'no conclusion' verdict," Ms Marriott said.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce during Question Time in August 2018. Picture: AAP
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce during Question Time in August 2018. Picture: AAP

Ms Marriott blasted the lack of finding - which was delivered even though the inquiry determined she was "forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset by the incident".

"The result of this investigation has underpinned what is wrong with the system and the absolute dire need for change," she said.

"While dismayed at the outcome, I am not surprised as the party never had the external processes in place to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment by a Member of Parliament," she said.

Catherine Marriott. Picture: Supplied.
Catherine Marriott. Picture: Supplied.

"My complaint was handled internally by the NSW National Party Executive with no professional external expert brought in at any stage to handle the matter.

"The only positive to come from this harrowing experience has been the development of a much improved policy by the party that I volunteered to contribute towards and strongly encouraged the development of."

Ms Marriott, a former WA Rural Woman of the Year, added that her complaint had always been about seeking reform from the National Party in the way it handled such complaints.

"I feel heartened that this has been achieved and people who find themselves in similar situations to me in the future will have a robust policy in place to assist them."

"While it has come at enormous personal expense, I was not prepared to walk past this kind of behaviour any longer," Ms Marriott said.

"I am pleased I stood up for what I believed was right and I'm proud I found the courage to make a difference for other people who want to create influence through political circles in future."

The NSW National Party have released a statement saying the investigation into the complaint against Mr Joyce has been finalised but the report and outcome of the inquiry will be kept confidential.

It notes Mr Joyce has been informed of the outcome.