13 November 2023

Johnathan Davis sexual misconduct allegations referred to ACT Integrity Commission

| Claire Fenwicke
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Johnathan Davis

Johnathan Davis was elected in 2020 but has stepped in light of recent allegations about his conduct. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The allegations surrounding former ACT Greens MLA Johnathan Davis, who resigned from politics and the party on Sunday night (12 November), have been referred to the Integrity Commission.

The remaining MLAs from his party are expected to present a united front when they face questions from the media later today.

Both ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals have called for investigations into the allegations and how the complaints were handled by the ACT Greens.

Acting Chief Minister Yvette Berry said there were frustrations both in her party and the community about how the “serious allegations” had been handled and communicated.

“It’s troubling to know that the individuals involved felt it necessary to go public with their experiences to get action,” she said.

“Canberrans need confidence that allegations of this nature, no matter the profile of the people involved, will be handled sensitively.

“There are many questions that I have, that the ACT Labor caucus has, and that the community will likely have on how this episode was handled by the ACT Greens throughout the past week.”

The Canberra Liberals have also raised their concerns that it appeared there had been “inaction” by the ACT Greens when the issues were first raised.

“These are very serious allegations that have been made about the conduct of an MLA, and how this serious complaint was handled by the ACT Greens must be scrutinised,” leader Elizabeth Lee said.

“The Canberra Liberals call for an independent review on the handling of this by the Leader of the ACT Greens and the ACT Greens party.”

Questions have been raised about the specific allegations, if those allegations included potential illegal activity, why it wasn’t taken to police immediately if there were allegations of criminal activity, why a media inquiry appeared to spur further action, and if there had been any previous complaints or allegations made in relation to Mr Davis’s conduct.

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Mr Rattenbury had told media he received the complaints on Monday (6 November) and launched an internal investigation.

While that investigation did not show “evidence of illegal activity”, the decision was made to report the matter to police, with the referral landing with ACT Policing on Friday (10 November).

A spokesperson confirmed on Monday (13 November) that a complainant had yet to come forward to police.

Mr Rattenbury also asked the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly to look into any issues involving misconduct or breaches of the code of conduct.

Mr Davis has been contacted for comment, but his solicitor, Andrew Herring, said his client had no comment concerning any “specific” allegations.

“[Mr Davis] understands that certain matters have been referred to police and the ACT Integrity Commission,” he said.

“Whilst those matters are being reviewed by those authorities, it is inappropriate for Mr Davis, or others, to comment upon them.”

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In a message sent to ACT Greens members, Mr Rattenbury said while no formal findings have been made against Mr Davis, the “intimate information” about his personal life had caused “immense community concern”.

“The ACT Greens take the conduct of our MLAs seriously and believe Canberrans should rightly expect the highest standards of behaviour, integrity and accountability from our representatives and members in office,” he said.

“Every day in our jobs, we ask you to trust in us and work with us … We still want to do that, and we are all deeply committed to earning your trust and working harder than ever to face up to the urgent challenges facing our community and our world.”

The party will hold an in-person gathering for members on Sunday (19 November) to discuss the matter further and offer support.

If this reporting has caused you concern, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. You can report a crime or request police assistance on 131 444.

Victim Support ACT can provide help whether or not you have had contact with police on 1800 822 272, or the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 6247 2525.

QLife Australia provides support for the LGBTIQA+ community on 1800 184 527.

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