Nats candidate quits, reveals details of 'disturbing calls'

Lismore businessman Rod Bruem has called for an investigation into the weekend's Nationals Lismore pre-selection process.
Lismore businessman Rod Bruem has called for an investigation into the weekend's Nationals Lismore pre-selection process. Marc Stapelberg

FORMER Nationals candidate Rod Bruem today resigned from the party, saying a "hastily convened" meeting of the Ethics Committee "refused to act over a series of damaging and defamatory" questions levelled at him during last weekend's Lismore pre-selection.

Mr Bruem - who claims he was targeted because he is gay - said since he made the complaint, he had received "disturbing phone calls" from others who were disgruntled with the Nationals.

"Among the more disturbing calls I've received in recent days have been several from women who say they've been subjected to similar sexist and unacceptable questioning at previous Nationals pre-selections which were also not ruled out of order," he said.

"It's hardly surprising therefore that not one woman wanted to run for the Nationals in Lismore.

"It's values and standards of behaviour are obviously stuck in the 1920s and need seriously updating."

Mr Bruem said he received an email from the National's Deputy State Director Thomas Aubert today stating the committee decided no questions at the pre-selection meeting breached the Party's rules.

"It's disappointing the Nationals Ethics Committee has met and not even bothered to contact me to hear my side of what happened," he said.

"I can't believe a party which has so many honourable members allowed this to pass.

"These allegations would have been ruled out of order by the Speaker in the 'bear pit' of NSW Parliament, yet the Nationals think they are somehow acceptable in a community preselection.

"I'm proud of my personal and professional record. I'm incredibly grateful for the support I received from people who were at the meeting as well as other members of the NSW Nationals and the wider Lismore community."

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