A by-election in Kiama could be held before the federal election expected in May, and although it is on a safe margin of 12 percent, it was held by Labor before the coalition won the government in 2011.
Kiama’s state seat overlaps Gilmore’s federal seat on the battlefield, which is being challenged by Mr. Constance. NSW is crucial to the Morrison government’s re-election options, and Gilmore is seen as a must-win for the Liberals. It is owned by Labor at only 2.6 per cent.
Ward attended Oak Flats police station on the south coast on Tuesday, where he was charged and granted bail to appear in Port Kembla Local Court on May 18.
In his statement, Mr Perrottet said Mr Ward was entitled to defend himself against the charges but insisted he “must do so as a private citizen”.
“While Mr Ward is entitled to the presumption of innocence that any citizen is, the standards expected of an elected member of Parliament are not compatible with the seriousness of the charges he faces,” he said. “If Mr Ward does not resign, the government will make a proposal to remove him from Parliament.”
Ward wrote to voters on Tuesday saying he completely denied the allegations against him and hoped to bring the case to court as soon as possible.
“I’m innocent and I intend to prove it,” Ward said.
“While I strongly support the right of real victims to make accusations, accused persons have an equal right to the presumption of innocence, have the right to refute accusations against them and should have the opportunity to defend themselves against allegations that are simply untrue.”
Ward was forced to resign from the government and walk across the bench in May last year after revealing himself to be the subject of a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.
At the time, he said he had not been contacted by police about the allegations and denied having made any mistakes.
Police later confirmed that detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Group had formed a strike force to investigate separate allegations.
A card with evidence of the alleged offenses was submitted to the prosecution for consideration.
Ward, who is legally blind, was the first disabled MP to have the disability portfolio. He was also the former Minister for Families.
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said the opposition would support a deportation proposal.
“It is clear that the position of the member for Kiama is completely untenable given the serious nature of the charges against him this morning,” said Mr. Remember.
The premiere also wrote to NSW Liberal Party State Director Chris Stone asking for Mr Ward to be expelled from the party.
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