LAST WEEK ENDED BADLY for NSW Labor General Secretary Jamie Clements.
While in Victoria, news has come out of Victoria Labors decision for expulsion of a notorious branch stacker, in NSW Jamie Clements, who has sat on his hands while branch stacking has run rampant through the party, was making the news for completely different reasons.
NSW police have issued an apprehended violence order (AVO) on Jamie Clements after an alleged incident in an office at Parliament House in June this year. This alleged incident involved a political staffer for Greg Warren the Labor member for Campbeltown.
There will be many out there who will be expecting me to make hay (no reference to Noreen) while the sun shines, rise to the occasion and drive another nail into Mr Clements' political coffin.
I hate to disappoint, but I will be doing no such thing.
This is a legal process and it must run its course — the same as it must for Jamie's factional pal Noreen Hay.
My opinion – and I must stress it is only opinion – is that this looks and smells dodgy. It has that stench of a political hatchet job.
I might be the last person in the world you'd expect to find vouching for Clements, however if this is indeed a hatchet job, it is the exact reason why the public distrust politicians no matter what their party.
To me, there are too many coincidences and oddities in this case.
The event allegedly occurred during a sitting in NSW Parliament where every Labor MP was guaranteed to be there. This would mean Clements would have likely had to pre-meditate the alleged encounter, or had some sort of brain-snap that he must have maintained all through the main floor of Parliament House, up in the lift, through the security doors and right down the hall to Greg Warren's office.
It is not just this irregularity however; sources have informed me that Clements is seen in the Party as “on the nose” and that moves to remove him are inevitable. However, given he was elected to his position this would not to be a straightforward task.
Then there’s the complainant, Stefanie Jones.
Jones is allegedly someone with whom Clements had been in a relationship with a few years prior to this alleged event. However, given Clements is not talking to journalists currently I don’t know how this has been confirmed by those reporting it. Given that at the time of this alleged relationship Clements would appear to have been married, it strikes me as particularly odd that this is something he would confirm whilst not talking to press. So who is confirming this relationship?
I also find it odd that Clements would single out a woman who was a fiancée of someone he worked closely with at Sussex St. That person is David Latham, who is a NSW Labor state organiser and someone who several people had tipped as a possible, but unlikely, successor to Clements should he be removed.
If the allegations are true, then here we have a person who has been subject to threatening and intimidating behavior by someone in a position of power. This act was also alleged to have occurred in her place of work, making it even worse as it directly impacts her career. as well as her state of mind. If the allegation is true, the perpetrator is someone who comes from a union background and would therefore be well and truly across the rules of sexual harassment in the workplace. If it is true, Clements action's must be condemned utterly.
However, if this more to do with Labor wanting to remove Clements as NSW secretary, then it's not the way to go about it.
Whether Jones is a victim or a pawn in a political play, she is someone who is going to be going through an enormous amount of stress currently and I hope that she is receiving all the support she surely requires.
As a party, Labor need to take a strong stance against violence against women no matter what form it may take. If the case against Clements is proven then he should be held accountable and face criminal proceedings.
For me, however, the jury is still out and I will be anxiously waiting on the results of the police investigation with which Clements is cooperating.
The matter is due for a mention in the Magistrates Court on 12th August.
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Jamie Clements: Labor general secretary cancels bucks party trip to New York in wake of assault allegations http://t.co/UGMybnFSnK— Andrew Clennell (@aclennell) August 10, 2015
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