Crikey reported yesterday on the on-again, off-again, on-again Country Liberal Party (CLP) candidacy of Leo Abbott for Warren Snowdon’s safe Labor seat of Lingiari in the Northern Territory.

Yesterday, the acting-president of the CLP, Richard Teo, told  that Abbott was “probably one of the better candidates ever fielded [by the CLP] in Lingiari … we listened to everything and looked at all the documents that were produced and we found that there was absolutely no domestic violence at all.”

One thing for sure is that next time around, the CLP will be spending a lot more time vetting candidates.

As Crikey noted yesterday, in December 2009 Leo Abbott entered a guilty plea to one count, of an original 21 counts, of “Engage in conduct that contravenes DVO” under the NT’s Domestic and Family Violence Act.

Last Friday Leo Abbott told Kirsty Nancarrow of ABC Alice Springs that the breaches of the DVO had been telephone and text messages and that he had “used no violence or force” against his ex-partner.

Crikey has been shown court documents that reveal that Abbott started an earlier relationship with a woman (who will remain anonymous) in mid-2007 and that she made an application for a DVO against Abbott in September 2008.

The court documents contain allegations that, following their separation in June 2008:

“…the Defendant [Abbott] physically and verbally abused the Applicant on numerous occasions in an attempt to force the Applicant to resume their relationship. The Defendant has approached the Applicant in public places, pulled a knife, slapped her, tried to hit her car with her and her daughter inside (sic), threatened her with a nulla-nulla and threatened to kill himself.

“The Defendant has also contacted the Applicant by phone, text and email repeatedly despite the Applicant requesting that he not do so. Since July 2008 the Defendant has sent the Applicant 137 text messages and called on average twice a day … “

According to court documents shown to Crikey the Court of Summary Jurisdiction in Alice Springs made the DVO against Leo Abbott on September 29, 2008. The records show that the DVO was made in Abbott’s absence.

Crikey has no information to indicate that Abbott breached any of the terms of that DVO. Crikey also understands, but has as yet been unable to confirm, that the DVO was lifted in either late 2008 or early 2009.

In relation to the more recent DVO taken out in 2009, Crikey has been informed that there are several relevant matters that were not apparently reported to the CLP pre-selection committee when they were considering Abbott’s candidacy.

The application for the second DVO contains allegations that Abbott and the applicant had a heated argument concerning her wish to end their relationship, in the course of which Abbott “raised his left hand, which was open, and struck the victim to the right side of her face”.

Abbott’s ex-partner says that the CLP’s management committee statement that “… the couple had lost a baby and that he [Abbott] wanted to discuss his feelings as part of the grieving process … that was a very emotional and difficult time for Leo” is fundamentally incorrect.

Crikey has also been shown telephone records that indicate that several of the text messages that Abbott sent to his ex-partner in 2009 were made from a mobile phone issued by the FaHCSIA, the Commonwealth Government agency where Abbott was employed as a project manager up until some time in late 2009.

Crikey approached FaHCSIA on several occasions seeking confirmation of Abbott’s employment with them and information on the circumstances of the determination of his employment. FaHCSIA’s responded that “It is not appropriate to discuss an individual employee’s circumstances.”

Crikey also made several attempts to contact Leo Abbott by telephone and email. Abbott responded by advising that he would only speak off the record.

Crikey informed Abbott that we would prefer to speak to him on the record as we had some specific questions to put to him and wanted to offer him the chance to outline his side of the story. Abbott did not respond.

Yesterday, Steve Brown, Alice Springs-based management committee member, described the move to disendorse Leo Abbott as a “dirty, low horrible act”, and a “low, mongrel act” and said that Terry Mills was “not the leader of the party. Management Committee of the CLP is the head of the party.”

Crikey also attempted to contact the CLP’s acting-president Richard Teo but he did not return our calls.

Earlier today Crikey spoke to CLP parliamentary leader Terry Mills and outlined the information referred to above.

Crikey asked Mills for a response to Steve Brown’s comments, Mills graciously declined, saying only that “I just can’t dignify that outburst with a response.”

Mills went on to state that he felt vindicated by the extra information that Crikey had outlined to him, noting that:

“This preselection process was flawed and I require the party to reform this process. Someone is going to have to change here and it won’t be me.

“The CLP’s preselection processes must be comprehensively reformed. Full stop. [Federal Liberal Party leader] Tony Abbott said that the decision by the CLP management committee it was a ‘no-brainer’. He phoned me and he couldn’t believe the decision by the CLP management decision to continue to endorse Leo Abbott. I completely agree with Tony Abbott.”

In late-breaking news, the ABC’s Anna Henderson is reporting that prominent CLP member and immediate past parliamentary leader Jodeen Carney will not be out on polling day in support Leo Abbott.

“Ms Carney has emailed party officials saying she will not attend her Central Australian booth on polling day because she cannot support his candidacy.”