Barnaby Joyce accuser Catherine Marriott to speak about sexual harassment

Catherine Marriott.
Catherine Marriott.

Rural campaigner Catherine Marriott, who accused former National party leader Barnaby Joyce of inappropriate behaviour, will speak publicly against sexual harassment.

The Rural, Regional, Remote Women’s Network of Western Australia is holding an event next month to discuss sexual harassment. 

The #USTOO lunch will be held in Perth on October 31.

Keynote speakers will be the complainant against Barnaby Joyce and former Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott and leader of the NOW Australia campaign against sexual harassment Tracey Spicer.

A groundswell of support is building behind the movement since the event was announced on social media.

The forum will ask: what is sexual harassment? Why does it happen? And, how do we bring it to an end? 

Speakers will include leaders in Australia’s crusade against sexual harassment who will “share their lessons learnt, experiences, insights and inspiration to keep creating change”.

Former Western Australia Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott made a complaint to the party in February this year and said she was “dismayed” after being notified of its findings, which reached no conclusion after months of investigation.

She alleged misconduct by Mr Joyce in an incident at a Canberra hotel in August last year.

Mr Joyce has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Marriott wanted her complaint to remain anonymous but was identified in the media.

She said the report found she was "forthright, believable, open and genuinely upset".

"I'm extremely disappointed that after eight months of waiting, three trips to the east coast at my own expense to meet with the Party, my name and confidential complaint being leaked to the national media and my personal life being upended, the National Party have reached a 'no conclusion' verdict," Ms Marriott said.

"While dismayed at the finding, I am not surprised as the party never had the external processes in place to deal with a complaint of sexual harassment by a member of Parliament,

Ms Marriott said she the Nationals had improved their handling of complaints because of the incident, but the process had been a harrowing experience.

"While it has come at enormous personal expense, I was not prepared to walk past this kind of behaviour any longer,” she said.