NSW Labor candidate for the state seat of Balmain, Elly Howse, has attracted online criticism for using a quote from alleged sexual assault perpetrator, MLC Jeremy Buckingham, on her campaign materials. The quote used states, “the fact is, that as an organisation, the NSW Greens are corrupt and rotten.”
This quote comes from Buckingham addressing the media following the NSW Greens State Delegate Council’s decision to remove him from the 2019 state election ticket, as a result of allegations of sexual assault against a former staffer. The removal followed Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong’s call in State Parliament for him to quit over the allegations. Buckingham is contesting the state election as an independent for a seat in the NSW Legislative Council.
The alleged victim, Ella Buckland, told Honi “I have been consistently accused of being a factional player or ‘weaponising’ my complaint, however, it seems that’s what everyone else has done.”
Numerous women have alleged that their comments asking Howse’s campaign to respond to their concerns regarding the use of Jeremy Buckingham’s quote on her campaign Facebook page have been deleted. Additionally, some allege to have been blocked from being allowed to comment altogether.
Days after allegations of sexual misconduct were made by an ABC Journalist against former Labor Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, Howse penned an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald titled ‘Labor women have had enough and are speaking out for change.’
In the article, Howse wrote, “we don’t want platitudes and pretences. We want men and women who are prepared to stand behind us and back us, who believe us and support us when we call out poor behaviour. We also want institutions and organisations that are swift to act and put women’s experiences at the centre of their response.”
Howse was formerly on the board of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA).
Howse was involved in Sydney University student politics as a member of the Labor Left student grouping, National Labor Students (NLS). She was SRC Education Officer in 2009 and SRC President in 2010. Howse’s campaign manager is National Labor Students member and 2017 SRC co-General Secretary Isabella Pytka. Given the seat borders USyd on Parramatta Road, USyd NLS members have been out in force campaigning for Howse.
Sources in NSW Labor and the NSW Greens told Honi the battle for Balmain is set to be a close one. The state election is this Saturday 23 March.