COMMENT:

What a shambles.

As I said when he first did it, I am completely bewildered as to why Trevor Mallard chose to play judge, jury and town crier in one heady moment - which as it turns out is now nothing more than a defamation suit waiting to happen.

Mallard, as Speaker of the House, was so far out of his lane I'm not sure what he was thinking.

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His time as Speaker has been controversial to say the least: he injects himself too much into the politics, he rarely shows the impartiality the job requires, he allegedly leaks stories to the media - basically he can't stay out of the fray.

And now this. An alarmist assertion to the media, off the back of a bullying report, that there's a rapist on the loose in Parliament.

READ MORE:
'Bullied out': Man stood down from Parliament wants apology

On top of that Mallard doubles down later that day alleging the "threat" had been removed from the building.

That so-called "threat" hopefully just went straight to a lawyer's office. I hope he gets the recourse he so justly deserves.

Everything about the way Mallard handled this, as I said at the time, was a disgrace.

From terrifying parliamentary staff, to playing judge and jury, to using the word "rape", to making the assertions publicly via the media - the whole thing was a cluster.

The man at the centre of all this, potentially the only 'victim' here now - the one branded a "rapist" - had an unsubstantiated historic complaint against him that he hugged a woman from behind.

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The alleged incident was investigated and found to be without merit.

What's even more staggering in all of this, is that Mallard knew all of that. Yet he still
decided to call it rape anyway.

He still decided to alarm and inflame, to label and to essentially wreck a person's career. We now hear that the man at the centre of this debacle is reportedly "in a very dark place".

So has a Government so hot on bullying, so hot on mental health, so obsessed with people's 'wellbeing', just railroaded, bullied and shamed an innocent man out of town?

I don't even think we need to wait and see whether this meets the legal definition of a defamation suit or not, Mallard needs to go either way. He's out of his depth, unprofessional, he's proven that he cannot do the one thing the Speaker is required to do: be impartial and stay in his lane.

The greatest irony being that the very man who called for a report on bullying, it seems to me, turns out to be the bully.

The incompetence he's displayed here proves the only threat to Parliament is actually ... Mallard himself.