Ann Sudmalis attacks Liberal ‘bullying’


Politics is a place where,
if you do not have great resilience, the actions
of others can impact on your mental health. Bullying, betrayal
and backstabbing have been the hallmarks
of one of my state Liberal colleagues, Gareth Ward,
over the past six and a half years. In fact, I have
endured the trifecta. A sour grapes, defeated pre-selection
candidate, Andrew Guile, the plotting and manipulation of both
people and numbers by Gareth and the reporting by the
local editor of Fairfax, which I really see as
Biasfax, John Hanskill. Between them, I have been
misrepresented in all manner of media in a continuing barrage
of actions from April, 2012. Many people will have heard
rumours about my intentions for the election next year. In the first instance, let me
make the following plain: Scott Morrison, apart from being
the new prime minister, is also someone I see
as a friend. He is a man of integrity
and he’s absolutely passionate about the long-term progress
and vision for Australia. For that reason alone
I endeavoured to hold my decision in private until
after the Wentworth by-election. Unfortunately, that is
now not possible. I have asked the prime minister
to acknowledge the withdrawal of my nomination for
the seat of Gilmore. I want to make it
abundantly clear my decision has nothing to do
with the leadership of Scott. My decision does, however,
have everything to do with the New South Wales
state division and their lack of action
and the combined undermining actions as outlined
by the revenge motivated trifecta surrounding me locally. This is not the first time
that Gareth has flecked his vengeance on strong,
Liberal women. He doesn’t just get even,
he annihilates anyone who opposes him. In 2016, Gareth worked
the numbers in denying a priority position for a
strong, Liberal woman, Kellie Marsh, a local and effective
councillor. She ran independently
and won a place on Shellharbour council. That same year, Gareth,
while helping his friend, Andrew Guile, get back
onto Shoalhaven city council, worked on the booths,
handing out for the independent team,
knowing their preferences for mayor would all go
to the Greens’ candidate and not to Jo Gash,
also a strong, Liberal woman. And despite her winning
the primary count, she was defeated. Then, when nominations
were called for the seat of Gilmore, Gareth’s friends
Paul Ell and Adam Straney strangely decided to
nominate against me and while Andrew Guile
actively encouraged Grant Schultz to do the same. Was I doing a lousy job?
No, only if you ask the local Labor members
and even some of them think I’m doing
an OK job. Was it because they thought
I’d lose the next election? Hardly, when I had the
confidence of the former prime minister
Malcolm Turnbull and the current prime minister
Scott Morrison, openly stating on national television
their support for me. This was all about Gareth’s
narcissistic revenge, planned and plotted. I have decided that
enough is enough. After seeing the betrayal
of amazing and dedicated committee members,
who are now being contacted by the new committee members,
asking for help, the whole
scenario is pathetic. Who was this about? Certainly not the people
who elected me. It was about ego-driven
ambition, bullying and betrayal and my local
position is completely untenable. I will work right
through the term for the people
who elected me. This has been and will
continue to be the reason I do this job. I will continue to lobby
for my dairy farmers, I still have a great deal
of work to do and I will not
be distracted by boys who
should know better, men who know better
and do nothing or women who are manipulated
by false information. I am concerned that the media
will interpret my decision as a reflection on the
leadership of Scott Morrison. If they do,
they will be lying. Scott truly is a good man. In the end, I will always
ask people: ‘Are you OK?’ And I will mean it. And I will do everything
I can to help them. Some of my friends will
ask me if I am OK. Absolutely, yes. I’ve had five years
working for others in the capacity of
a federal member. It has been a privilege
and I thank you. Hear hear.