MP ‘can’t remember’ violent pub brawl
An MP fined $800 for his part in a nightclub fight says he can't remember the violent encounter as the Premier refused to publicly reprimand his behaviour.
But the father of a teenage boy killed by a coward punch who has spent 14 years campaigning for cultural change says Annastacia Palaszczuk should "severely" rebuke the first-term MP to send a message about the dangers of alcohol-fuelled violence.
Les Walker, 56, was yesterday fined $800 for public nuisance and banned for 10 days between 9pm and 5am from the Townsville Safe Night Precinct after an altercation just before 1am on Saturday in which he was knocked out.
The Courier-Mail can reveal CCTV shows the Labor Member for Mundingburra shoving another man at the Mad Cow Tavern moments before he was punched by the man's friend and taken to Townsville University Hospital.
All three were fined and issued bans.
Breaking days of silence, Mr Walker yesterday said he can't remember what happened.
"Honestly, I can't (explain what happened) due to the sustained head injury," Mr Walker said.
"I can't recall what happened.
"The police will not let me see the video because I've been informed by the police and my legal people it will taint me giving evidence in the statement.
"My memory is gone for a portion prior to the event."
The MP said he didn't count the number of drinks he consumed, but said he was being "responsible".
Mr Walker said he spoke "at length" with Ms Palaszczuk yesterday afternoon and she made it "very clear what her standards are about what she expects from her colleagues and her team".
"I sincerely apologise for finding myself in that position and (I will give) an iron-clad guarantee I will not find myself in that position again," he said.
Ms Palaszczuk, who made laws addressing alcohol-fuelled violence a central plank of her first term, would not publicly condemn her MP's behaviour following news of the fine and ban.
A series of questions went unanswered that included whether she had counselled the MP about his conduct, whether it was befitting of an member of her team and whether he would be demoted from a lucrative parliament committee he sits on.
Instead, her office issued a three-line statement late in the day.
"I have spoken to Les," it said.
"He has apologised to me and I have accepted his apology.
"He will also apologise to his community."
But Paul Stanley, whose 15-year-old son Matthew was killed at a party in 2006, said it was imperative to send a message to young people "to try to get them to understand the enormity of what can happen".
"I don't think it matters if they guy is an MP or what, I mean, if he's involved in violence, there has got to be an outcome for that act of violence," he said.
"Just because he's an MP, he gets into his underpants the same way I do, one leg at a time.
"So to be perfectly honest, to try and brush incidents under the table because he's a politician is just wrong."
He said the Premier should "tell him to pull his head in".
Fellow anti-violence campaigner Brett Thompson, who heads the Queensland Homicide Victims Support group and runs the state's One Punch Can Kill campaign, said leaders had a responsibility to speak out.
"What the Premier does is her call but certainly as an organisation we see the impact of violence on a daily basis and anyone who is involved in provocation leading to violence needs to be called out," he said.
"And as long as society in general is willing to see this as acceptable then nothing's going to change.
"It doesn't matter who it is ... and certainly our leaders in society need to set an example.
"If you're in a position of influence, if you're in a position of power, then that comes with a responsibility to set an example."
"We're talking about behaviour that is unlawful and if the allegations are correct then that individual needs to be called out without question. It's above politics."
He said a no-tolerance policy for violence was something every workplace should have as a value.
"You can't have your cake and eat it too," he said.
Originally published as MP 'can't remember' violent pub brawl