Last updated on December 17, 2023
Senator Andrew Bartlett has made a media statement apologising to Senator Jeannie Ferris and the Australian Democrats over his behaviour in a late-night incident in the Senate chamber last week.
Bartlett, pictured holding his daughter, is bound to be criticised for using his child as a prop at the media conference. Her crying disrupted the delivery of the statement.
- Listen to Bartlett’s statement
Text of statement from Senator Andrew Bartlett.
I have a statement to make regarding the incident regarding myself and Senator Ferris.
I have apologised in private to Senator Ferris and she has indicated she accepted that apology. I have also issued a written statement of apology.
However, now that the issue is very much a matter of public record and debate, I believe it is appropriate for me to make a public apology to camera.
I again repeat my unconditional apology to Senator Ferris. I also apologise to the public and particularly Democrat members and supporters for my behaviour, which has obviously brought the party and the Senate into disrepute.
If any good can come from this incident, it is to reinforce the message that this type of behaviour can never justified.
In regard to my personal circumstances, as you know, I am currently on leave and Senator Allison is Acting Leader. Matters to do with personal health are things that one prefers to keep private, but it is crucial for me to manage the personal matters that led to this incident, particularly with a stressful year ahead, and I will be seeking assistance to do so whilst on leave.
Text of statement from Senator Lyn Allison, acting Leader of the Australian Democrats.
Senator Bartlett has the full support of the party while he works through the issues raised by this incident. The Australian Democrats do not condone violence against women, or any other person or thing. We are behind Andrew in his unreserved apology and that will continue to be the case.
I don’t think there is any doubt that this has been damaging to the party, but it’s also the case that people know the work we do, and I would expect that we could return to a position where people will be comfortable with the party again.
I believe this to be short term.
It is too early for any sort of speculation regarding the leadership of the party at this stage. Senator Bartlett is the leader but he is on leave and I am acting leader. As acting leader I will continue to uphold the principles at the heart of the party.