Philippa Clark claims Frank Zumbo helped her campaign and touched it inappropriately, a claim he denies

A former Green Party candidate has alleged that Frank Zumbo, an office manager for former Liberal MP Craig Kelly, behaved inappropriately towards her as a teenager and felt compelled to speak up after similar allegations were made public by young interns Guardian Australia

Philippa Clark said she spoke out after the allegations were made public about inappropriate office culture at Kelly’s election office in southern Sydney, a suburb of Sutherland

Clark claimed she felt compelled in situations where she was forced to hug and kiss Zumbo, who was in his late 40s at the time, and that he touched her thigh multiple times, despite telling him that if this is the case, she is uncomfortable

Clark told the Guardian that Zumbo, who was Kelly’s office manager at the time, had spent more than a year giving her political advice – and asking her for food – trying to get the voters to two of Liberals held seats in Sydney to woo south in the 2015 state elections and the 2016 general election

Zumbo is the subject of a violence arrest order issued in September after police petitioned it on behalf of a 17-year-old former clerk, police have confirmed there is also a criminal investigation under way

Zumbo has announced that he will vigorously challenge the AVO case when the matter returns to the local Sutherland court in June and that he will vigorously deny the accusations of undesirable touch made by the ex-employee

On Tuesday, Scott Morrison was asked about Kelly’s sudden resignation from the Liberal Party on Zumbo. It is believed the Prime Minister had asked Kelly multiple times to remove Zumbo

“I have long expressed my concern to Mr. Kelly about this employee, and he has long understood my expectations of this employee,” Morrison told reporters

Clark said the chases to catch up with Zumbo happened every month or two, but there were phone calls and texts in between.She admitted she had met Zumbo for more than a year but said she was constantly worried in his company was

She claimed she was treated similarly to Ella (not her real name), one of the women whose allegations were reported by the Guardian

“I recognize Ella’s description of Frank squeezing her thigh in the car – it happened to me more than once. I always sat with my purse on my lap and never put it on the floor in case I got out of it quickly Car had to jump, “she told the Guardian

“I would tell him I was uncomfortable, but he always wiped it off with ‘I’m Italian, that’s how we show affection’ According to Asic Records, Zumbo was born in Camperdown in downtown Sydney

Clark remembered an incident in May 2015 that she recorded in her diary “We drove back from Bar Italia [in Leichhardt] He picked me up from work, we had dinner, then he took me back to my house in the Shire

“He did that thing on Norton Street. He grabbed my thigh and shook it. I told him I was uncomfortable,” she claimed

Clark said she met Zumbo at a 2014 home-schooling forum that she attended for being home-tutored

When Zumbo heard that she wanted to run as a candidate for the Greens and was a Christian, she offered to help her with the political strategy

She said she looked for Zumbo with Green MP Jamie Parker, who said he thought Zumbo was okay but he didn’t know him well

“Frank was factional against the local Liberal MPs I ran against and wanted to advise me on the campaign,” said Clark

Both seats were occupied by the Liberals and were among their most marginal The Liberals kept the state seat of Oatley with only 04% going in the 2015 election and the federal seat of the banks by less than 2% before the 2016 election The Liberals kept both but Banks picked up the wire

It’s unclear if Zumbo is a member of the Liberal Party, but he’s been working with Kelly in his electoral office since 2011, first as a volunteer and then as a paid employee from around 2015 or 2016 Kelly describes him as his office manager or chief of staff

Kelly was one of the most outspoken climate change deniers in the Liberal Party until his resignation on Tuesday and regularly ridicules the Left and the Greens for their beliefs

“I worked with him [Zumbo] because his advice was useful and I’m a pragmatist, but he made me incredibly uncomfortable and anxious,” said Clark

“He was proud of his ‘sisterhood’ and said he had looked after ‘sisters’ from Labor, Liberals and Greens alike. But he would also begin to be threatening and passive-aggressive if I didn’t return his calls or his Forgot birthday, “she claimed

“He wanted me to think he could make my life difficult politically if I let him down. I believed it for a while and was absolutely scared to deal with him and regretted working with him like that I’ve gotten very good political results – it felt like a deal with the devil, “she said

During her campaign, Clark said Zumbo gave useful advice on how to become a Justice of the Peace so she could help people, attend all Anzac Day services, and leave a book, not flowers, for her to get noticed

He advised her to make the Yeramba lagoon at the picnic point a focal point of her campaign as it was clogged with harmful weeds He took photos of her at the lake to use for the campaign

But she said that her interactions with Zumbo took a huge mental toll and that she became increasingly anxious and stressed out when she saw him

She provided text messages to the Guardian showing her interactions and his apparent annoyance when she didn’t call him for his birthday

“He always wanted to eat, have coffee, and spot planes together after I made the mistake of mentioning it was a hobby of mine. He always made comments about how I looked, which I hated”

Clark said she did not consider herself a “victim” of Zumbo’s alleged behavior at the time

“I accepted it as part of the transaction cost for good political results. But it shouldn’t be, and I am speaking now because I don’t want other young political women to accept it as normally as I do,” she said

Regarding these recent allegations, Zumbo said he would not comment as the matter was unconfirmed, describing them as “misrepresentations”

Kelly said his view that Zumbo would provide policy advice “would all depend on the details” He said on rare occasions that he had agreed to the Greens

Frank Zumbo

World news – AU – The Green candidate claims that Craig Kelly’s adjutant Frank Zumbo behaved inappropriately towards her