Matthew Hughes (politician)

Last updated

Matthew Hughes

Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
for Kalamunda
Assumed office
11 March 2017
Preceded by John Day
Personal details
Born (1950-02-09) 9 February 1950 (age 71)
Audenshaw, England, United Kingdom
Political party Labor
OccupationTeacher and principal

Matthew Hughes (born 9 February 1950) is an Australian politician. He has been a Labor member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly since the 2017 state election, representing Kalamunda.

Hughes was born in Audenshaw in the United Kingdom, and moved to Australia in 1979. [1] He was a teacher and the principal of John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School, and also served on Swan City Council. [2]

Controversy and bullying claims

In April 2020, Hughes was called on to resign from the Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission by Liberal leader Liza Harvey and Nick Goiran after posting comments on Facebook that broke the confidentiality of parliamentary committees. [3] Harvey accused Hughes of breaking the Chatham House Rule nature of all parliamentary committees and damaging the integrity of the parliamentary committee process. [4] Hughes decided to attack the Liberal Party in his defence, despite the fact that a member of the Greens was voting with the Liberal Party in the committee. [5]

In March 2021, prior to the 2021 Western Australia state election, Hughes was accused of bullying by three former staff members. [6] As a result of these claims, Hughes had the second worst two-party-preferred swing in metropolitan Perth in the election, second only to the safe Liberal electorate of Cottesloe. [7]

Later in March 2021, further claims from these three former staff members were published that detailed Hughes verbally abusing staff, punching objects in the office to startle staff, and the toxic environment. [8] These accusations led to the Community and Public Sector Union asking the Department of Premier and Cabinet to better educate Members of Parliament on how to treat their staff. [9] The women involved in the complaint claimed to have been let down by Premier Mark McGowan, who defended Hughes by claiming he was a decent man despite the accusation levelled against him. [10]

After the election, McGowan promoted Hughes to the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission despite his previous errors and breach of committee deliberations. [11]

In late June 2021, complaints about Hughes emerged again, this time from a former student of John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School about the conduct of Hughes when he was principal there. [12] The former student alleged that she was sexually assaulted as a 13 year old by a student who was 4 years older than her, and that as principal of the school, Hughes did nothing to help and that "the school took no steps to create a safe environment for her after she reported three incidents, including one on school grounds". [13]

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  1. "Mr Matthew Hughes MLA". Member List. Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  2. Green, Antony (2017). "Kalamunda". ABC Elections. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
John Day
Member for Kalamunda