Mallee MP Andrew Broad says he will not contest the next federal election, after a scandal involving an overseas trip and a dating website.
"Today I have informed the president of the Victorian Division of The Nationals that I am withdrawing my nomination to contest the Division of Mallee at the next federal election," Mr Broad said.
"After recent media stories about my private life, it is clear that the people of Mallee will be best served in the next parliament by a different Nationals candidate."
A woman reported to be 20 years younger than Mr Broad told New Idea the married MP met with her after a month of correspondence that began through a dating website that connects younger women with wealthy older men, during a trip to Hong Kong.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack today told media Mr Broad should think about leaving parliament.
“I think he should consider his future. I do,” Mr McCormack said.
Yesterday, Mr McCormack said Mr Broad would continue as an “effective and hardworking” Member for Mallee.
Mr McCormack is under pressure over his handling over the situation. He found out the matter five weeks ago but did not alert the Prime Minister.
“I thought it was a personal matter between him and his family,” Mr McCormack said.
“I don’t tell the Prime Minister everything about every member of Parliament. He’s got enough on his mind at the moment and, quite frankly, I thought it was a matter for Andrew to sort out.”
Mr Broad told New Idea the person making the allegation may have engaged in criminal activity.
“This matter has been reported to the Australian Federal Police and I will not be making any further comment,” Mr Broad said.
On Monday, Mr Broad a former Victorian Farmers Federation president, resigned as Assistant Minister to Mr McCormack.
The allegations against Mr Broad follow a string of bad news for the Nationals, which risks damaging female voters’ perception of the party.
Queensland Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan has been in the headlines recently, after he was criticised for crude comments to South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and his staffer sent an offensive message to a female journalist.
Former Western Australia Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott made a complaint to the party in February this year and said she was “dismayed” after being notified of its findings, which reached no conclusion after months of investigation.
She alleged misconduct by Mr Joyce in an incident at a Canberra hotel in August last year.
Mr Joyce has denied any wrongdoing.