A female MP has opened up after Mark Latham used parliamentary privilege to accuse her of being “paralytically drunk” in Parliament and allegedly trying to drive home before being physically stopped by officers.
NSW One Nation MP, a former national leader of the Labor Party, said Shellharbour MP Anna Watson was “as drunk as anyone I have ever seen in a House of Parliament in my long years of work”.
Ms Watson admitted to having a drink with Mr Latham at a NSW Parliament bar on August 27, 2020, but said: “I thought I had his ear and a shoulder to cry on.”
She revealed that “stress” had prompted her to use alcohol as a coping mechanism, but denied driving home that night.
NSW Labor MP Anna Watson (pictured) said she previously turned to alcohol to ‘cope with stress’.
In a statement, Ms Watson said that although she sometimes drank too much at the time, she now “quit alcohol”.
“During a particularly difficult time in my life when a close family member was going through a personal crisis and out of respect for that family member I will not disclose the details of this matter but I have turned to alcohol to help cope with the stress, ‘ She said.
On the night in question, the NSW Parliament of which she is a member was not in session and two politicians met for talks.
‘I was having a drink with Mr Latham in the bar at Houses of Parliament. I thought I’d have his ear and a shoulder to cry that night,” said Ms Watson.
Mr Latham used a NSW Parliament hearing on Tuesday to ask officials whether members of an advisory group overseeing the Broderick report of misconduct in Macquarie Street would be subject to a “review process”.
Mrs Watson is on this committee.
Mr Latham said she “yelled into her phone, ‘You’re too good for him, you’re too good for him'” on the night in question.
Mark Latham (pictured) has used parliamentary privilege to accuse a Labor MP of being “paralytically drunk” in the NSW Parliament
“Do you really think she should have been on an advisory group convicting the rest of us of serious wrongdoing?” asked Mr. Latham.
“Was there a security report later that night on how Parliament staff had to stand in front of this particular Member’s car to prevent her from driving home in this paralytically intoxicated state?”
What is Parliamentary Privilege?
Parliamentary privilege is a statutory immunity granted to members of certain parliaments around the world, including Australia.
It protects politicians from civil or criminal liability for statements made in the exercise of their legislative duties.
Mark Webb, chief of the Department of Parliamentary Services, said he was “not aware of any security report of this nature”.
In response, Ms Watson said she “knew I had had too much to drink that night, so I took the step most people would do and called my husband”.
‘He picked me up at the back of Parliament,’ she said.
“I drank too much alcohol during this extremely stressful and traumatic time, I acknowledge that … (but) I want to be clear — I wasn’t trying to drive or drive the car.”
She said that “I found too much comfort in alcohol during and after that time,” but she’s “abstained from alcohol since then.”
Labor MP Anthony D’Adam contradicted Mr Latham’s questions, saying they were “full of assumptions”.
“You are making allegations about a member, the member is unable to defend themselves, you should refrain from this type of questioning, that is not okay,” Mr D’Adam said.
Mr Latham also attacked the Broderick reporting committee, saying: “They created that star chamber environment and already three MPs have suffered from it with nothing proven against them.”
He was referring to Labor MP Walt Secord, who has announced his resignation after allegations of bullying, which he denies, as well as Labor MP Tania Mihailuk and Green MP Jenny Leong, who have also been the subject of anonymous complaints.
Liberal MP Matthew Mason-Cox told Mr Latham: “I don’t think you can just sit and wave them away because there hasn’t been any evidence in court.”
Mr Latham replied that he was “wavering away at an anonymous s*** sheet”.
Labor MP Anna Watson (pictured) has released an emotional statement after One Nation’s Mark Latham used parliamentary privilege to say she was “paralytically drunk” in the NSW Parliament and that staff physically kept her from it prevented them from going home
Full statement by Anna Watson
During a particularly difficult time in my life when a close family member was going through a personal crisis and out of respect for that family member I will not disclose the details of this matter but I have turned to alcohol to help cope with the stress.
The day Mr Latham referred to the Legislative Assembly was not in session and outside of business hours. (27 Aug 2020)
I was having a drink with Mr Latham in the Parliament House bar. I thought I had his ear and a shoulder to cry on that night.
I drank too much alcohol during this extremely stressful and traumatic time, I acknowledge that.
I knew I’d had too much to drink that night, so I took the step most people would and called my husband. He picked me up from the back of Parliament.
I want to be clear – I wasn’t trying to drive or drive the car.
During this time and after, I found too much comfort in alcohol.
I gave up alcohol.