The NSW branch of the Nationals party has finalised its investigation into alleged sexual harassment against former federal Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce.
As previously flagged by the party, the findings of the complaint will remain confidential.
Former Western Australia Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott made a complaint to the party in February this year and has lashed out today after being notified of its findings.
She alleged misconduct by Mr Joyce in an incident at a Canberra hotel in August last year. Ms Marriott wanted her complaint to remain anonymous but was identified in the media.
Ms Marriott said in a statement today the report had reached no conclusion, and that she was dismayed at the findings.
She said the report found she was "forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset".
"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 life being upended, the National Party have reached a 'no conclusion' verdict," Ms Marriott said.
"While dismayed at the finding, 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,
Ms Marriott said she the Nationals had improved their handling of complaints because of the incident, but the process had been a harrowing experience.
"While it has come at enormous personal expense, I was not prepared to walk past this kind of behaviour any longer,” she said.
Mr Joyce has denied any wrongdoing.
NSW Nationals released a statement today confirming the report had been finalised and the individuals concerned had been contacted.
In July, Ms Marriott’s lawyer Emma Solarno issued a statement calling on the Nats to publish the findings of their report, and criticised the party over the delays in finalising its investigation.
“In this time Catherine has assisted the National Party’s inquiry into her allegations and on several occasions, at her personal expense, met with the National Party executive to contribute towards the development of a sexual harassment and discrimination policy,” the statement said.
“After more than five months of co-operation and respectfully waiting on the outcome of the investigation, we are now extremely frustrated by the National Party’s ability to deal with this issue in a timely manner.
“We call on the National Party to not only release the findings of their investigation as a priority, but also their sexual harassment policy as a minimum to protect women, such as Catherine, who make allegations of sexual harassment.”
In February Mr Joyce stepped down from the party leadership, and his position as Deputy Prime Minister, amid controversy over his affair with staffer Vikki Campion.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson accused the Nationals of leaking sensitive details of the sexual assault allegation, made by prominent agricultural identity Catherine Marriott
NSW Nationals and Ms Marriot have been contacted for comment.
The story Marriott “dismayed” by report into Joyce’s alleged sex harassment first appeared on Farm Online.