Australia: 'Intimidating and frightening': LNP details complaints against Costigan - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia'Intimidating and frightening': LNP details complaints against Costigan

21:05  12 february  2019
21:05  12 february  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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'Intimidating and frightening': LNP details complaints against Costigan© Facebook Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, pictured with LNP leader Deb Frecklington, has been suspended from the party.

The Liberal National Party has unleashed on booted member Jason Costigan, detailing five separate harassment complaints and labelling him as "lazy".

Mr Costigan was expelled from the party following allegations of "disgusting behaviour" towards an 18-year-old, which he strenuously denied, and was missing in action as Parliament resumed for the first sitting of 2019.

Under the protection of parliamentary privilege, manager of opposition business Jarrod Bleijie did not hold back in his scathing assessment of his former colleague, who is now an independent.

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Mr Bleijie also revealed details of new allegations which have been made to the LNP.

"The people of Whitsunday deserve to know what their member's been up to," he said.

Mr Bleijie said Mr Costigan arranged to stay with an elderly couple on a remote farm interstate in January, arriving at 1.30am, with the couple then leaving the property early in the morning.

Just after noon, Mr Bleijie said, the 18-year-old granddaughter arrived to collect some belongings and was surprised to find Mr Costigan in the home.

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"She didn't know who he was or why he was in her grandparents' home," Mr Bleijie said.

"He met her in the living room before following her into the bedroom. He was half naked, having just had just had a shower.

"He closed the door behind her when they entered the room, he touched her on the back and stroked her hair. She didn't ask him or invite him to touch her.

"He told her she was pretty, he told her he liked young girls, he told her she should come to the Whitsundays to visit him and he would pay for her flights.

"He pressured her into taking selfies with him."

Mr Bleijie said it was an "intimidating and frightening experience" for the woman, who considered using a panic alarm in her handbag, but realised she was outside mobile coverage.

"A large 47-year-old man alone in a remote property with such a smaller and very young woman, she panicked, she frantically gathered her belongings to get out as quickly as possible," he said.

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"In her rush, a piece of her underwear fell to the ground.

"He picked up the fallen underwear, he turned it over in his hands and told her he liked it."

Mr Bleijie said the woman told her mother she feared she would be raped.

"It was a traumatic experience for this young woman," he said.

"The people of Whitsunday need to know that their member is all selfie and no action."

Mr Bleijie said Mr Costigan loved "carping and moaning about road funding".

"But the truth is when he's down here at Parliament, he's never once been to a party room policy committee meeting to talk about getting the proposal delivered," he said.

"He's a lazy member who always talks but never listens."

Mr Bleijie said since Mr Costigan was expelled from the LNP, other complaints had come to light.

"Another young woman has made a formal complaint of harassment of a sexual nature and stalking to the LNP about the member," he said.

"Another woman has come forward to say she witnessed the member sexually assault her friend at a music festival.

"She described him walking through a crowd. She saw the member look at her friend. She thinks he targeted her because he knew she had recently separated from her husband.

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"He approached her from behind and rubbed himself against her.

"She wheeled around and told him to 'go away'."

Mr Bleijie said another woman came forward to say she had screen shots of text messages Mr Costigan sent to a then-16-year-old girl.

"Messages which contain sexually-explicit material and sexually suggestive lines about how she made him feel," he said.

Mr Bleijie said another woman had told the LNP about his "leering and staring" at a 17-year-old waitress "to the point that she hid whenever he entered the cafe".

"The cafe manager intervened to protect the 17-year-old waitress from the unwanted attention from the member for Whitsunday."

LNP member for Chatsworth Steve Minnikin said Mr Costigan had complained about not being afforded natural justice.

"That is completely wrong," he said.

"The truth is, the member has been fairly dealt with by the LNP.

"The member was given an opportunity to be heard, he ignored the request and two following requests to respond to the complaint."

LNP leader Deb Frecklington refused to reveal details of specific complaints earlier this month to "protect the complainant".

Attempts have been made to reach Mr Costigan for comment.

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