Photo: James Ross/AAP
Moira Deeming says she is launching a legal challenge to her nine-month suspension from the Liberal party after issuing a failed ultimatum to its leader, John Pesutto, to declare she is not a Nazi sympathizer.
The honor was suspended for nine months by the Liberals during a party room meeting on March 27, after she had earlier attended an anti-transgender demonstration that had been slammed by neo-Nazis.
Pesutto had initially tried to expel her from the party but later said he had recommended a suspension after receiving “important concessions” from the Assessment, including criticism of comments made by the main speaker and organizer of the rally.
According to sources close to Assessment, as part of the compromise, Pesutto had indicated that he would issue a media statement with her, making it clear that she was not accused of being a Nazi or a sympathizer.
Related: John Pesutto’s failure to expel Moira could be his undoing
His office issued a statement in the afternoon after the party room meeting but it was only attributed to his assessment.
In an e-mail sent to Pesutto on Thursday morning, Measadh made it clear that she did not believe the opposition leader had kept the alleged agreement.
She wrote that she only agreed to the compromise to “clear” her family’s name and said they were “suffering unfairly” as a result.
She said if a statement was not issued by the 2pm deadline she will consider “the leadership has failed to honor the suspension agreement and I will have to make an official protest, demand re-entry to the party chamber and instruct my lawyers to begin.” legal proceedings”.
Pesutto did not meet Deeming’s deadline.
In a subsequent email to Liberal MPs, Measadh said she would face the suspension, given the terms were “never honoured” and “failed to endorse the minutes of the meeting”.
“Since the leadership did not make an exoneration statement, or the leadership did not make a declaration back to me [to the party]and that there is no mediation or even any moment to resolve this dispute, I have advised my lawyers to prepare a legal challenge to my suspension,” she wrote.
“I believe we need to come together as colleagues and have a decisive meeting. If my suspension is reconfirmed, we can ensure that the conditions are expressly agreed upon.”
Asked about the possibility of legal action, Pesutto told reporters Thursday that he was not concerned.
“If Moira Deeming is going to take action to sue me – and effectively sue the parliamentary Liberal party and the Liberal party – I think that’s a matter for her to consider,” he said.
“She is free to do what she wants.”
Pesutto was also forced to deny being a bully, after allegations he brought upper house MP Renee Heath to tears during another meeting in the party room on Tuesday.
Guardian Australia heard conflicting accounts of Tuesday’s meeting, with the disagreement centered on the minutes of the March 27 meeting when the Assessment was suspended.
Related: ‘It didn’t get off to a good start’: John Pesutto slams Moira in tweet after suspension
Heath, an ally of Deeming, is the party room secretary and is responsible for taking minutes during meetings.
Pesutto told reporters that Heath provided three “very different versions” of the minutes from March. He said that because of this, he made a motion to reject them.
“They couldn’t be brought together and the party room agreed they couldn’t accept them,” he said.
Heath reportedly left the meeting in tears and later wrote to her colleagues saying she felt “so shaken” by how she was allegedly treated.
She said she felt “completely betrayed and misrepresented” by the party leadership, “with no ability to defend myself”.
“I was not even given the space to correct the mistruth about me at today’s meeting,” she said in the email, first broadcast on Peta Credlin’s Sky News program but later seen by Guardian Australia.
“I’m upset. Very upset. The way I was treated and the way other conservative women are treated in this party is not without a lot of bullying.”
Pesutto said there was no culture of bullying in the Liberal party.
“I lead with a collaborative, inclusive and professional style,” he said.