Aussie lawmaker quits Cabinet over dating scandal allegations

Mr Andrew Broad resigned as the assistant minister to the deputy prime minister, but remains on the backbench.
Mr Andrew Broad resigned as the assistant minister to the deputy prime minister, but remains on the backbench.

SYDNEY • An Australian government lawmaker yesterday resigned from Cabinet over a report that he used a website to meet a younger woman while on a Hong Kong work trip - overshadowing the government posting the best financial outlook in 10 years.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he accepted the resignation of Mr Andrew Broad after New Idea magazine ran an interview with a woman who alleged she met the married politician at a Hong Kong restaurant last month.

"Due to the nature of the allegations made, it is appropriate for Mr Broad to resign as the assistant minister to the deputy prime minister," Mr McCormack said in an e-mailed statement.

Mr Broad will remain on the government backbench.

A spokesman for Mr Broad did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

New Idea published Mr Broad saying: "This matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and I will not be making any further comment."

New Idea ran an interview with a woman named Amy, who alleged Mr Broad maintained a profile on a website, which the magazine said was used by wealthy, older men to meet younger women, but it did not name the website.

It said Amy was 20 years younger than Mr Broad.

Amy said she agreed to meet Mr Broad at the Hong Kong restaurant for dinner, but left because she did not like his behaviour, New Idea reported.

Mr Broad's resignation came just hours after the government forecast the strongest budget outlook in 10 years, arming Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a war chest large enough to allow for possible tax cuts ahead of an election in less than six months.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia's budget deficit for the fiscal year to June 2019 would be slashed to A$5.2 billion (S$5.1 billion) from the A$14.5 billion projected back in May.

Australia will then deliver a budget surplus by 2019/2020, ending more than a decade of deficits.

Mr Morrison's minority government must return to the polls by May next year, with opinion polls strongly favouring the opposition Labor to easily win the election.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'Aussie lawmaker quits Cabinet over dating scandal allegations'. Print Edition | Subscribe