Why did the Hills Shire Deputy Mayor and Liberal Party pre-selection hopeful abuse and attack one of his own constituents at a friendly Council Christmas Party — completely unprovoked. Peter Wicks reports.
LAST FRIDAY NIGHT, I was invited to attend a Christmas function at Bella Vista Farm in the Hills Shire in Sydney where I live.
The event was the Hills Shire Council Christmas party and was hosted by the Hills Shire Mayor Clr Dr Michelle Byrne who, as always, was a gracious host.
The event itself was a great success; an outdoor event always runs the risk of disaster, but thankfully the weather was onside and a great evening was had by all.
Well, almost all.
An unfortunate event got our evening to sinking start almost as soon as I arrived with my partner.
When I turned up, I was making my way through the guests and saying hello to those I knew and introducing my partner to those who had not met her as yet. Whilst making my way around, I was greeting some people I knew standing near the Deputy Mayor Clr Andrew Jefferies.
The Deputy Mayor and Liberal Councillor Andrew Jefferies then proceeded to yell at me
“Don’t you fucking say hello to me! Fuck off and don’t come near me!”
I wandered off to defuse the situation and chat to others, however Mr Jefferies took it upon himself to pursue me and abuse me in front of several other guests.
Jefferies was angry at me, apparently, over an article I wrote a few months ago — although I have written a couple of articles where his childish antics and comments are mentioned, so I can't be sure which one.
Despite Jefferies being known for his smartarse style and frequent attempts to belittle others, apparently he doesn’t feel his own behaviour should be open for discussion and fair comment.
I told him politely that I didn’t think that a Council Christmas function was an appropriate place or time to have this discussion, however Jefferies clearly felt differently.
In front of my partner ‒ who was quite shocked at the unprovoked outburst ‒ along with other guests, I gritted my teeth and smiled while Mr Jefferies poked me in the chest and repeatedly called me a “fucking c**t” — words that I would not use in front of female company, particularly females that I do not know.
It is not alarming that a Liberal councillor would throw abuse at me, especially one with the apparent temperament and ego of Andrew Jefferies (pictured right).
What is more alarming, however, is that when I attempted to defuse the situation by wandering away, Jefferies decided to pursue me. What is also alarming is the clear lack of anger management skills he can add to his list of failings. And most shocking is that he would use such vile, sexist, obscenities in front of a room full of females.
But what is most alarming of all is that Jefferies thought a Christmas function in front of invited guests was an appropriate venue to spew forth his vile rantings and threatening behaviour.
As I pointed out to Mayor Byrne and Hills Shire Council General Manager Dave Walker in a written complaint regarding the matter;
“Someone who cannot hold their temper, someone who will abuse a journalist in front of his constituents and invited guests at a Christmas function for writing an article he doesn’t like, and someone who is comfortable using the most vulgar and sexist of profanities in front of females he has never met is not someone who I feel is fit for office, and certainly not befitting of the title of Deputy Mayor in a council that has always shown the highest of standards.”
Although it was suggested that I report the incident to police as a result of the chest poking, I decided not to cast a dark shadow over the event; it is a shame that Jefferies did not show the same consideration.
Andrew Jefferies is a Liberal councillor and a deputy mayor, however he is also hoping to be pre-selected as a Liberal Party candidate in the upcoming NSW State election.
Not only that, due to the public outcry and internal fighting in the Liberal Party over the majority of the State Executive of the Liberal Party in NSW being made up of lobbyists, changes have had to be made to the make-up of the executive. There must have been desperation to fill positions within the executive, as something has led to Andrew Jefferies being appointed as a member of that body.
Andrew Jefferies is known as a protégé of Federal Liberal MP Alex Hawke, who is Jefferies former employer and his current factional leader. Hawke has guided Jefferies along his career path and taught him everything he knows along the way; he was most surely instrumental in Jefferies appointment to the State Executive.
Hawke himself has often been the subject of controversy, with even shock jock Alan Jones referring to him as a
"…. cancer on the Liberal Party".
[Click here to hear Alan Jones talking on an episode where Hawke and Jefferies called in 25 police to their own branch meeting to stop opponents voting.]
For those reasons, any behavioural issues involving Andrew Jefferies must also be seen as a reflection on Alex Hawke, who continues to support him and, by doing so, tacitly endorses his behaviour.
I am actually one of Andrew Jefferies constituents, but needless to say he has not secured my vote should the Liberal party decide to endorse him again for council elections.
If I were a member of a Liberal Party branch, I would also be taking note of this when voting in any upcoming pre-selections, as this episode I am sure will re-emerge again in any election campaign.
As for what should happen with Mr Jefferies, that is not my decision to make — however I know what any political party with morals and integrity would do.
If I were someone like NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell or Tony Abbott, I would view this as a wake-up call. Jefferies is clearly someone who is likely to damage the party’s reputation and community standing, and as such is a liability from whom I would be going out of my way to distance myself.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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