20 November 2023

Announcement imminent on the ACT Greens candidate to replace Johnathan Davis

| Claire Fenwicke
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Sue Ellerman and Laura Nuttall

Former Brindabella MLA Johnathan Davis’s preferences from the 2020 election are expected to flow to either Sue Ellerman (left) or Laura Nuttall. Photo: Photos: ACT Greens.

The ACT Greens are expected to announce their candidates to fill the casual vacancy left by Johnathan Davis’s resignation by the end of the week.

Analysis shows Mr Davis’s preferences will flow to the other two Greens candidates who stood for the seat of Brindabella in 2020 – Laura Nuttall and Sue Ellerman.

Ms Nuttall received 1657 votes at the last election when she pledged to put people at the forefront of her representation if elected.

“Too often, the old parties put the interests of corporations and their donors before the people they are supposed to represent,” her profile on the ACT Greens page stated.

“We’ve seen what’s possible during a crisis, and we need to use this moment to build a better normal. That means making sure that everyone has a place to call home, food on their table, and feels welcome in our community.”

Ms Ellerman secured 1309 votes during the 2020 election, running on environmental issues.

She singled out previous housing development on nature reserves along the Murrumbidgee River in the electorate as a key concern.

“This kind of development has never been supported by our community. Yet it’s likely that in the future this issue may re-emerge,” her profile stated.

“It is essential that Brindabella has further housing development. However, we don’t have to put at risk our most beautiful wild places to do that.

“We must protect our catchment areas and retain important environmental values while making our city more liveable. This is some of the best land in Canberra and it should be protected.”

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Mr Davis resigned from the Legislative Assembly on 12 November following allegations of sexual misconduct involving a then-17-year-old male.

It’s understood a second person has contacted the ACT Greens concerned over their interaction with Mr Davis, but the nature of those allegations is unknown.

The way the ACT Greens handled the original complainant’s allegations has come under fire, with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly confirming the Administration and Procedure Committee will head up an independent inquiry into the whole situation.

A spokesperson from the Speaker’s office said the committee was still working through the details of the review, the form it will take and who exactly will undertake it.

“The Committee understands the need for timeliness and intends to have details of the review resolved by [Friday, 24 November],” they said.

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The Speaker has previously indicated she intends to review the provisions of mandatory reporting legislation.

It’s a move welcomed by the Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA), which has called for all elected ACT politicians and their staff to be included under mandatory reporting legislation.

Confusion around mandatory reporting requirements appeared to cause some delay in sexual misconduct accusations against Mr Davis to police.

AFPA president Alex Caruana said while the existing mandatory reporting legislation in the ACT was adequate, it should be improved and expanded to include members of the ACT Legislative Assembly and their staff.

“In the course of their duties, members of the Legislative Assembly and their staff may receive information that should be reported to the appropriate authorities in order to protect children and young people in the ACT,” he said.

A mandated reporter is a person who is legally required to report observed or suspected child abuse or exploitation.

Doctors, midwives, teachers, police officers and ministers of religion are currently considered mandated reporters under the Children and Young People Act 2008.

Section 356 outlines the definition of a mandated reporter and the offence of being a mandated reporter and not mandatorily reporting.

Mr Caruana noted the law currently doesn’t include MLAs or their staff and argued this should change.

“We are talking about the protection of children and young people here. A member of the ACT Legislative Assembly or their staff aren’t the right people to be making enquiries if they become aware of an allegation of child abuse or exploitation,” he said.

“It must be mandatorily reported to the authorities, such as ACT Policing and Child and Youth Protection Services. Let the experts do their job.

“[Changing the Act] should clear up any ambiguity regarding the reporting of child abuse and exploitation in the ACT.”

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Arise another mediocre, overpaid pollie

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