Senator John Madigan has quit the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to sit as an independent, citing a “cancer of political intrigue” in the party.
Madigan said the DLP’s “worst enemies are within its own ranks” and alleged he had been undermined by a person in his office.
His stand on issues would not change, he said.
Madigan was elected in 2010 with 2.3% of the Victorian Senate primary vote. Now in the second half of his term, he has had an increasing profile and works quite often with South Australian independent Nick Xenophon. There will now be two independents out of the eight crossbenchers who determine the fate of legislation when Labor and the Greens vote against government bills.
Madigan said that from the time of his election he had seen firsthand attempts by people in the party to assume power by any means, even at the cost of destroying the party. “But more recently that attack moved into my electorate office.”
On the strongest recommendation of senior party members, he had employed an office manager this year.
“That person already had a relationship with the DLP and was involved with the party’s senior members. It has now become apparent that that person systematically ran a campaign of disinformation and disharmony in my office.
"Attempts by me to undertake normal communication with party members were thwarted. Confidential information was leaked and lies were told.”
Madigan said that, even more alarming, it had emerged that a fortnight after joining him, the woman had sent an email to the Liberal Party asking about pre-selection for the forthcoming Victorian election.
“The cancer of political intrigue clearly has infected the Victorian state executive of the DLP. That person suddenly resigned from her position in July, three days after being elected Victorian state president of the DLP.”
He had sought a plausible explanation from the party’s state executive about these events but none had come.
He was leaving the party with a “heavy heart” because his commitment to it had been “second to none”. He had been up all night thinking about his position. “My feeling is the DLP has left me, I haven’t left the DLP.”
Madigan said he had made no decision about whether he would stand again at the next election.