ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSER SEAN ARMISTEAD SUBJECT OF FURTHER ALLEGATIONS
New sexual harassment and bullying allegations have been raised against former Administrative Committee member Sean Armistead. This follows a series of damaging accusations that have been revealed about alleged serial harasser Sean Armistead.
The 45 year old business consultant recently resigned from the Administrative Committee following the publication of allegations made by young woman at the Melbourne University Club (MULC).
The allegations involve sexually and physically harassment during and after the 2014 Frankston campaign. At the time of the allegations Sean Armistead was a high profile marginal seat candidate, enjoying strong support from then Party President Tony Snell and State Director Damien Mantach.
The allegations were documented in a string of text messages between the woman and a party official. The messages have been confirmed by one individual, while the other declined to comment at this time.
According to those involved in the campaign the above instance was not unique. The young woman had previously sought advice from party officials due to unwanted sexual advances by the Sean Armistead.
While the official offered to raise the allegation with then State Director Damien Mantach, it is unclear if Damien was aware of the allegation. According to those involved in the campaign no action was taken.
The text exchange details the woman’s wish to remain involved in the Liberal Party’s election campaign, however seemingly her intention is to stay away from Sean Armistead.
According to a source familiar with the Liberal Party’s disputes management, unhappy volunteers were often directed to support neighbouring campaigns. The neighbouring electorate of Carrum at the time was held by Donna Bauer who is referred to in the opening line of the exchange. It is understood that the woman supported several campaigns through the sand belt in the lead up to the election.
The text exchange covers an alleged incident of physical and verbal intimidation at a local party meeting. The incident was apparently sparked by Sean Armistead learning that the woman had been critical of him to another Liberal Party member.
It was confirmed that a complaint had been drafted by the woman and a witness statement was written to accompany it. However it is unclear as to whether the complaint was received by a State Director.
When current State President Robert Clark and State Director Sam McQuestin were contacted they failed to confirm or deny the complaint’s existence.
Allegations involving Sean Armistead have a funny way of disappearing. Clear instances of sexual harassment, witnessed physical intimidation and bullying would be the subject of internal investigation and discipline in any other organisation.
Observers of the Liberal Party can only conclude that status and influence within the Party provides cover for men to behave without consequence.
The Liberal Party deflected previous complaints about Sean Armistead’s behaviour because it occurred at a university club instead of a party event. This time such a convenient answer will not do.
The above incidents occurred during a Liberal Party campaign, at a Liberal Party meeting and the individual involved in the correspondence is a former Liberal Party staff member.
Robert Clark and Sam McQuestin have the material and the opportunity to investigate these allegations. If the Liberal Party is serious about changing perceptions it must act.
Power and privilege on the Administrative Committee should not protect bad behaviour.