NSW Labor leader denies Coalition claim she wrote letter in support of paedophile

‘I did not advocate on the individual’s behalf,’ Jodi McKay says of Sri Lankan man seeking visa

Jodi McKay
Jodi McKay says her office passed on documentation – ‘incorrectly characterised’ as a letter of support for a Sri Lankan man reportedly convicted of indecently assaulting a child. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
Jodi McKay says her office passed on documentation – ‘incorrectly characterised’ as a letter of support for a Sri Lankan man reportedly convicted of indecently assaulting a child. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
Australian Associated Press

Last modified on Mon 15 Feb 2021 22.44 EST

The New South Wales Labor leader, Jodi McKay, has denied she provided a “letter of support” for a Sri Lankan man trying to get an Australian visa despite his reported conviction for indecently assaulting a child.

The Tamil man was reportedly convicted in 2017 and served 12 months in jail before being taken to Villawood immigration detention centre to await a decision about his application for a protection visa.

McKay agrees she provided a letter related to his application that was included in documents tabled to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal looking at his case.

But in a statement late on Monday, the opposition leader said the letter signed by her on 27 August 2018 had been “incorrectly characterised in public exhibits as a ‘letter of support’”.

“I categorically deny the suggestion I provided a letter of support to the individual in question,” she said. “I did not advocate on the individual’s behalf, nor did I express any support for his case.

She said her electorate office had only passed on documentation from a constituent to the tribunal.

“Typically that’s a form letter that you have in an electorate office that indicates there are documents attached,” she told the Sydney radio station 2GB on Tuesday. “Those documents are from the Catholic church, the Uniting church and Hillsong.

“To suggest that I in any way wrote a letter supporting this individual is factually incorrect.”

McKay also said she had written to the tribunal “identifying this error and requesting clarification of the public record”.

The man’s visa application was reportedly refused because he did not pass the character test.