Zumbo, the office manager for MP Craig Kelly, denies allegations of inappropriate behaviour

Craig KellyZumbo, the office manager for MP Craig Kelly, denies allegations of inappropriate behaviour
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, demanded the now former Liberal MP Craig Kelly remove a senior aide who is currently the subject of an apprehended violence order and allegations of inappropriate behaviour by young interns.
Guardian Australia understands that the prime minister had asked on a number of occasions for Kelly to remove Frank Zumbo as his office manager, but the MP, who today moved to the crossbenches, did not take action.
Craig Kelly’s senior aide faces multiple allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by young women
Zumbo is the subject of a Guardian Australia investigation in which it has been revealed that young women some as young as 16 had gone to New South Wales police to allege inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, including an alleged instance of unwanted touching.
At least six women have made complaints but no charges have yet been laid. Zumbo, a former associate professor of law at the University of NSW, denies the allegations and said he could not comment because of legal action.
Zumbo has said he will vigorously defend the AVO when it returns to court in June.
When approached by the Guardian last week, Kelly said he was unaware there were multiple women who had gone to police with complaints of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. He said he was aware of the AVO and the criminal investigation and its nature. He said Zumbo was entitled to the presumption of innocence. He confirmed he continued to employ Zumbo.
Today at a press conference Morrison was asked about Kelly continuing to employ Zumbo in a role in his office.
Craig Kelly quits Liberal party to move to the crossbench
I have long expressed to Mr Kelly my concerns about that staff member and he has long understood my expectations about that staff member, Morrison said.
Over the past week the Guardian had asked the prime ministers office about workplace culture in the member for Hughes electorate office and sought comment, which was not forthcoming.
However, it is understood the issue of Zumbos employment has been a source of contention within the PMs office for some time.
In parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Morrison again faced questions about what he knew about allegations from several young women regarding the workplace culture in Kellys office.
Morrison said he had met with Kelly several weeks ago about the various statements he had made concerning the governments response to the pandemic and health measures put in place.
Over the last few weeks I became aware of some other matters ..with the Department of Finance, and we have initiated a process that is looking into those precise matters that came to my attention a few weeks ago, he said.
The Department of Finance employs MPs and ministers staff.
The Leader of the Opposition seem to confuse the fact that I have long held issues regarding a particular staff member and their performance in that office, not related to the issues he is referring to in asking that question, he said.
That is a matter I have raised on numerous occasions, but that reached a more serious point in recent weeks.
I raised those matters with the member for Hughes, he undertook to take some certain actions on behalf of those discussions, those actions were not taken, and the member for Hughes has taken his decision today, the Prime Minister said.
Morrison is the MP in the neighbouring seat of Cook, also in the Sutherland shire.
In 2018, the then vice-president of the Liberal party Kent Johns, who had been attempting to win a preselection battle with Kelly, sent an email and copied in the entire Moderate faction of the NSW Liberal party executive.
Addressed to the moderate powerbrokers Sally Betts, a Waverley councillor, and Trent Zimmerman, the federal MP for North Sydney, Johns made numerous allegations about problems within Kellys office.
What disgusts me more than anything is that we are all [aware] of what is said to be occurring in Craigs office irrespective of him tearing down the party, climate change denial and attacking marriage recognition.
The treatment of young woman [sic] in his office over the last six years was made aware to all from the prime minister down. The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you accept, Johns wrote at the time.
The email was sent to the entire moderate wing of the Liberal executive.