Disgraced ex-cities minister Jamie Briggs has broken his silence over the incident in a Hong Kong bar that left him out of a ministerial job, blaming alcohol and time away from home for kissing a female staffer on the cheek (or neck) and telling her she had piercing eyes. In an exclusive interview with his local paper, the Mount Barker Courier, Briggs and his wife, Estee, say that media coverage of the issue was “ridiculously over the top”.
In last week’s edition of the Courier, Briggs said that he had paid a heavy price for his behaviour in Hong Kong in November last year, and that he had to take responsibility for the “mistake” he had made.
“Unfortunately in politics there’s not really a small price ….
“I’m not going to get into whether the error was significant or not because, in the end, the judgment of the Prime Minister was that it was an error which breached the high standards of Ministers.
“I didn’t have any choice.
“I needed to resign because it’s a very privileged position to be a Minister in a Commonwealth Government and I need to learn from the error that I made.
“I shouldn’t have been in that situation, I should have been more careful, I should have been more disciplined.”
Briggs also said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had given him hope of a return to cabinet: “I still think I’ve got a lot to contribute.” The readers of the Courier aren’t so keen, and the editorial, headlined “Kiss of Death“, notes that while Briggs is keen to run again, his seat is under threat from a Nick Xenophon Team candidate, and warns him not to take the safe seat for granted.