FEDERAL member for Wright Scott Buchholz has joined the ranks of former LNP politicians Jason Costigan and Andrew Broad after being outed for inappropriate conduct towards women.
The Scenic Rim MP was in hot water when national media broke the news that a female RAAF member had filed a complaint regarding his inappropriate behaviour during a ministerial visit to a Darwin Air Force base in August.
Some social media posts labelled Mr Buchholz a “known hugger” and others described him as a “self-confessed idiot”.
One post on Facebook from a Scenic Rim resident read: “Mr Buchholz seems to be a decent person, but if you want to hug the women you should also hug the men.
“If a handshake suffices to congratulate a male, then it also suffices for a female. It is just a respectful equality.”
The incident occurred weeks before the Prime Minister promoted Mr Buchholz to the front bench as Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport on August 28.
Mr Buchholz said the event took place in July but he only found out about the reported complaint about him hugging a female officer in December.
He said the parliamentary group of four had been introduced to a delegation of Defence Force personnel during live military exercises at a remote location outside Darwin.
“The female RAAF member had shared some congratulatory news and for that I offered affirmation,” Mr Buchholz said.
“Clearly I was in breach of protocol and as soon as I heard there had been a complaint I offered my sincere apologies.”
When the news broke on Thursday, constituents in Mr Buchholz’s electorate of Wright were given few details of the incident, with the MP only saying that he had apologised for an unspecified lapse in behaviour.
“I behaved like an idiot on a parliamentary exchange last year and recognise how inappropriate my actions were,” he said.
“I apologised for my conduct and the offence I caused, and I reiterate my deep respect or the ADF and its members.”
A Department of Defence spokesperson confirmed that a complaint was made by an Australian Defence Force member about the behaviour of a parliamentarian during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.
“The parliamentarian was participating in the exercise as part of the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program,” the spokesperson said.
“The complaint was referred to the Office of the Minister for Defence Personnel.
“Defence subsequently received an apology from the parliamentarian and is satisfied with the response.”