Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Aussie state ethics chair in sex scandal

06 August 2013, 16:04

Brisbane — An Australian state lawmaker accused of sending raunchy pictures of himself to a woman stepped down as the head of an ethics committee on Tuesday, apologising to his family and dubbing the scandal indefensible.

The allegations against Peter Dowling, a member of Queensland state's ruling conservative Liberal National Party, emerged after The Courier-Mail newspaper reported on Tuesday that a woman claiming to be the politician's mistress sent a letter detailing their two-and-a-half-year affair to state parliament Speaker Fiona Simpson.

The newspaper said it had seen several explicit text messages between Dowling and the woman, including a picture of a penis resting in a glass of wine. The photo was accompanied by the message, "He wanted a Red Wine..."

On Tuesday morning, Dowling — who, according to his website, has two children with his wife of 27 years — stood before his fellow lawmakers and offered a mea culpa.

"I owe my family an apology. I am sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused you," Dowling told parliament. "I am not proud of the events plastered all over the paper. I can't and won't defend any part of it."

Dowling is also accused of taking advantage of parliament business trips to meet the woman. Her name was not released and her face was blacked out in published photos of her and Dowling.

Dowling acknowledged he accepted more than $17 800 worth of free flight upgrades. Queensland's parliament exempts travel upgrades from its rules that politicians declare all gifts worth more than $450.

'I don't want pity'

Dowling denied he had violated any disclosure rules, but said he was stepping down as ethics committee chairperson and from the parliamentary crime and misconduct committee until an investigation by the Clerk of Parliament into his travel is complete. The ethics committee handles complaints about the behaviour of the state's politicians, and the crime and misconduct committee monitors the Crime and Misconduct Commission, an anti-corruption agency.

"In relation to the allegations made to the use of travel allowances, I can assure the House that I have complied fully with all the guidelines and requirements of the parliament," he said in parliament. "However, I do not wish for this issue and for my family to be dragged through the media any longer than necessary. I will answer any questions, front any investigation.

"I don't want pity. I only ask that my family be left alone while this matter is considered by the clerk."

While a revelation of infidelity is not necessarily politically fatal in Australia, it becomes so if it exposes abuse of office or hypocrisy in politicians who campaign on morality or family values. Liberal lawmaker Ross Cameron, once a rising star among conservatives, saw his career implode after he confessed in 2004 to having an affair while his wife was pregnant. Cameron, who used to lead prayer meetings at Parliament House, was seen as a hypocrite for his behaviour and lost his seat at the election later that year.

Dowling may have a particularly tough time finding forgiveness in Queensland, a socially conservative state where traditional, rural values still run deep. Until the late 1980s, Queensland only allowed the sale of Playboy magazines that had been heavily edited to remove photos of exposed female genitalia.

The controversy over Dowling's actions has drawn comparisons to the sexting debacle surrounding New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Weiner is facing angry demands that he drop out of the race following an admission that he'd traded sexually graphic messages with women even after resigning from Congress two years ago for doing the same thing.

- AP

Tags australia

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...