Senator Sam McMahon quits Country Liberal Party after hiring former chief of staff Jason Riley, accusing them of ‘abuse’



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A senator has chosen to leave the Country Liberal Party after it decided to hire its former chief of staff, whom she alleges “abused” and “terrorized” her office.

Outgoing Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon says she left the Country Liberal Party because she appointed the man who “terrorized” her to the Central Council.

In 2020, Senator McMahon was involved in a physical altercation with her former chief of staff Jason Riley, which was under investigation by police. No charges have ever been filed.

She announced she would be leaving CLP in January, six months after she lost the pre-selection to former Alice Springs Deputy Mayor Jacinta Price.

But in her farewell address to the Senate, Senator McMahon said she was not stepping down because she lost the preselection.

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“My reason for resigning was motivated entirely by my former staffer Jason Riley, who abused and terrorized my office, including myself, and the party’s decision to place him in a position on their Central Council,” she told IPS. the Senate.

“Having to sit in meetings with someone like that was a very stressful experience and one I haven’t had without seeking professional help to overcome the anxiety and PTSD it caused.”

Sky News Australia contacted Mr Riley but he declined to comment.

She also accused an unnamed former government employee of “blaming the victim” of the incident.

“This was in response to my disclosure that I had resigned from CLP for failing to address my concerns for my personal safety,” she said.

Senator McMahon drew parallels with the case of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching, who died of a heart attack earlier this month.

Senator Kitching’s Labor colleagues Penny Wong, Kristina Keneally and Katy Gallagher have been accused of bullying her in the months before her death – allegations they deny.

In both cases, Senator McMahon noted that the alleged bullying was “female to female.”

“Looks like it’s not a guy thing, a faction thing, or a party thing, but it sure could be a political thing,” she said.

“I think about the untimely passing of my colleague Kimberley Kitching and one thing that haunts me is that I could have done it so easily.”

Senator McMahon said she regrets hiring Mr. Riley, a former CLP director she named her chief of staff after her election in 2019.

“I made some mistakes initially in choosing who to get advice from, I’ve acknowledged those mistakes and they continue to follow me in this place,” she said.

“Personal staff as we know it can make or break an elected member and I have certainly experienced both.”

The senator said she was proud of her achievements in parliament, especially securing two lower house seats in the NT, against changes in live cattle export standards that could have seriously affected NT ranchers and convinced of the government not to appeal the federal court’s decision to compensate the Brett Cattle Company for Labour’s 2011 live export ban.

“We could have easily prolonged the pain, but common sense prevailed,” she said.

She said she was still unsure about her future.

“My road was bumpy, but when I’ve lived in and out of the Northern Territory, the roads are always bumpy,” she said.

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