SYDNEY - A self-professed “woman’s rights” advocate and close party ally of hard-right Australian leader Pauline Hanson was forced to resign from politics Tuesday — just weeks before the May election — after he was filmed groping and abusing exotic dancers.
Described by Australian media as “uncomfortable viewing,” the footage shows Steve Dickson repeatedly grabbing a striptease artist’s breasts and making a series of lewd comments to women on a recent trip to the United States.
The former Queensland minister, who had been running for a federal Senate seat on May 18, said Tuesday he had resigned from the party and politics.
The footage — shot by Al Jazeera in an undercover investigation — shows Dickson referring to one dancer as a “bitch,” ordering another woman to touch his genitals and suggesting he has had sexual intercourse with many “Asian chicks” but says white women are better in bed.
“The footage shown does not reflect the person I am. It shows a person who was drunk and not in control of his actions and I take full responsibility for allowing that to happen,” he said in a statement.
Dickson had earlier made headlines for traveling to the United States on the same trip to solicit millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association gun lobby in return for changing Australia’s tight weapons laws.
Just weeks after forcefully defending Dickson amid that scandal, veteran firebrand politician Hanson was forced to jettison her ally.
Hanson said she was “deeply upset” by the comments and accepted his resignation.
“Steve’s language and behavior was unacceptable and does not meet my expectations nor the greater public’s expectation of a person who is standing for public office,” she said.