Philippa Clark alleges that at the age of 18 Frank Zumbo helped her campaign and touched her inappropriately, a claim he denies

A former Green Party candidate alleged that Frank Zumbo, office manager of former Liberal MP Craig Kelly, behaved inappropriately towards her as a teenager, saying she felt forced to speak out after similar allegations by young interns were posted by Guardian Australia

Philippa Clark has said she is speaking out after allegations of inappropriate office culture were published at Kelly’s electorate office in the southern Sydney suburb of Sutherland

Clark alleged that she felt pressured into situations where she was forced to hug and kiss Zumbo, who was in her 40s at the time, and that on several occasions he did. touched her thigh even though she told him it was uncomfortable

Clark told The Guardian that Zumbo, who was then the manager of Kelly’s office, spent more than a year offering her political advice – and asking her for meals – as she tried to woo voters in two seats held by the Liberals in Sydney south in the 2015 state election and the 2016 federal election

Zumbo is the subject of an apprehended violence order which was issued in September after police searched for her on behalf of a 17-year-old former office worker Police confirmed there was also a criminal investigation

Zumbo has said he will vigorously challenge the AVO process when the case returns to local Sutherland court in June and vigorously denies the allegations of unwanted contact raised by the ex-employee

Scott Morrison was asked about Zumbo on Tuesday following Kelly’s sudden resignation from the Liberal Party It is understood that the Prime Minister asked Kelly to eliminate Zumbo on several occasions

“I have long expressed to M Kelly my concerns about this staff member and he has long understood my expectations of this staff member, ”Morrison told reporters

Clark said that catch-ups with Zumbo took place every month or two, but that there were phone calls and texts between the two.She admitted that she continued to meet Zumbo for more than a year. an, but said she was constantly anxious in his company

She alleged that she was treated the same as Ella (not her real name), one of the women whose allegations were reported by the Guardian

“I recognize exactly Ella’s description of Frank squeezing her thigh in the car – this has happened to me a few times I always used to sit with my purse on my lap, and never put it on the ground, in case I have to quickly jump out of the car, ”she told The Guardian

“I would tell him that made me uncomfortable but he still ignored her with ‘I’m Italian, that’s how we show affection” According to Asic’s records, Zumbo was born at Camperdown in central Sydney

Clark recalled an incident in May 2015, which she recorded in her diary “We were coming back from Bar Italia [in Leichhardt] He picked me up at work, we had dinner and then he drove me home to the County

“He did the thing in Norton Street He grabbed my thigh and shook it I told him that made me uncomfortable,” she said

Clark said she met Zumbo at a home schooling forum in 2014, which she attended because she was homeschooled

Zumbo, upon learning that she was planning to run as a Green candidate and was a Christian, offered to help her with her political strategy

She said she checked Zumbo with Greens MP Jamie Parker, who said he thought Zumbo was okay but didn’t know him well.

“Frank was opposed to the local Liberal MPs I was running against and wanted to advise me on the campaign,” Clark said

Both seats were held by the Liberals and were among the most marginal The Liberals held the state seat of Oatley by just 04% before the 2015 election and the federal banking seat by less than 2% ahead of the 2016 election Liberals kept both, but banks fell in love

It is not known if Zumbo is a member of the Liberal Party, but he has worked with Kelly in his Election Office since 2011, first as a volunteer and then as a paid staff member since 2015 or 2016 Kelly describes him as her office manager or chief of staff

Kelly had been one of the most outspoken climate change deniers in the Liberal Party until his resignation on Tuesday and regularly mocks the Left and the Greens for their beliefs

“I worked with him [Zumbo] because his advice was helpful and I’m a pragmatist, but he made me incredibly uncomfortable and anxious,” Clark explained

“He was proud of his ‘brotherhood’ and said he mentored Labor, Liberal and Green ‘sisters’ But he would also start to behave in a threatening and passive-aggressive manner if I didn’t return his calls or if I forgot her birthday, ”she said

“He wanted me to think he could make politics difficult for me if I disappoint him. I believed it for a while and felt absolute dread in my dealings with him, and regretted it to work with him, even though I got good political results – it looked like a deal with the devil, ”she said.

During her campaign, Clark said Zumbo provided her with helpful advice on how to become a justice of the peace so that she can help people, attend all Anzac Day services, and leave a book, not flowers, for her to be noticed

He advised her to make the Yeramba Lagoon at Picnic Point a focal point of his countryside as it was choked with noxious weeds He took pictures of her at the lake for use in the countryside

But she said her interactions with Zumbo took a heavy mental toll and she became increasingly anxious and stressed when she saw him

She provided the Guardian with text messages that show their interactions and her apparent anger when she didn’t call him on her birthday

“He always wanted to get together for meals, coffee and plane spotting, after I made the mistake of mentioning that it was a hobby of mine. He always commented on my appearance, what I hated “

Clark said that at the time she did not consider herself a “victim” of Zumbo’s alleged behavior

“I accepted it as part of the transactional cost to get good political results But it shouldn’t be and I’m speaking now because I don’t want other young female politicians to do it. accept as normal as I did, ”she said

Regarding the latter allegations, Zumbo said he would not comment as the questions were not substantiated. He described them as “false statements”

Kelly said his take on Zumbo giving strategic political advice “would all depend on the details” He has said on rare occasions that he agrees with the Greens

Frank Zumbo

World News – UA – Greens candidate alleges Craig Kelly aide Frank Zumbo behaved inappropriately towards him