Anthony Weiner, move over. A married member of Australia’s Queensland parliament has apologized for sending sexually explicit messages and photographs to his mistress.
However, unlike New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, Australian MP Peter Dowling has resigned from his post as the chairman of the Queensland parliament's ethics committee. He is also stepping down from the parliamentary crime and misconduct committee. “I owe my family an apology, I am sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused you,” Dowling, who has two children and has been married for 27 years, told parliament. “I am not proud of the events plastered all over the paper. I can't and won't defend any part of it.” Dowling, a member of the center-right Liberal National Party, reportedly sent photographic images of his penis (in a glass of red wine) to his mistress. Of a more serious nature, he is suspected of using public funds to conduct his illicit affair with the unnamed mistress.
According to the Courier-Mail newspaper of Brisbane, Australia, Dowling’s mistress revealed how they used his parliamentary expenses and living quarters for sexual trysts for more than two and half years of their affair. Dowling is also accused of using parliamentary funds to pay for overseas trips with his mistress. ”I enjoyed the people's money too when I stayed in the hotel rooms," the mistress told Australia’s Channel 9 television station. "I enjoyed the perks of the Australian taxpayers because I was in the hotels with [Dowling]." She added: "I would go and visit Parliament House and we'd go to his office. And have sex, yes. Twice I stayed overnight in Parliament House."
According to Associated Press, Dowling admitted that he accepted more than 20,000 Australian dollars (about US$17,900) in free flight upgrades. The rules of the Queensland parliament specifies that lawmakers must declare all gifts valued at more than $500 (Aus.). Parliament is now investigating if Dowling failed to disclose all his expenditures properly – but Dowling said he has not committed any financial wrongdoing. “In relation to the allegations made to the use of travel allowances, I can assure the house that I have complied fully with all the guidelines and requirements of the parliament,” he said. “However I do not wish for this issue and for my family to be dragged through the media any longer than necessary. I will answer any questions, front any investigation. I don't want pity. I only ask that my family be left alone while this matter is considered by the clerk [of parliament]”
Dowling may face a particularly hard road ahead, given that his Queensland constituency comprise a traditional, conservative, rural base of voters. Indeed, as recently as the late 1980s, copies of the pornographic magazine Playboy had to have female genitalia ‘blacked out” in issues sold in the province.
Meanwhile, 10,000 miles away, Anthony Weiner continues to campaign for the mayoralty of New York.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.