George Christensen: Queensland MP claims ‘smear campaign’ against him
Nationals MP George Christensen has hit back at claims he frequented an adult bar in the Philippines, saying he has been targeted by a “grubby smear campaign”.
On Monday, a joint investigation between Nine News, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age alleged that Mr Christensen visited an adult bar called Ponytails in the Philippines.
Ponytails Bargender Marjorie Lamsen told the organisations Mr Christensen was a “very regular visitor” to the venue.
“He was always very good … he was a big spender,” she said.
The Queensland MP has previously been dubbed the “Member for Manila” due to his frequent travel to the region, including 28 trips in a four-year period.
Mr Christensen is reported to have spent almost 300 days in the Philippines between 2014 and 2018 and reportedly met his now wife, April Asuncion, in the country in 2017.
However Mr Christensen hit back against the allegations, saying “political operatives and sections of the media” have been engaged in an “ongoing, grubby smear campaign” against him.
“(They) have now sunk to a new low by making defamatory allegations regarding my wife,” he said, in response to media reports that suggested Ms Asuncion was an employee at Ponytails.
“There is an unwritten rule in Australian politics that we do not attack family members and spouses but a certain media outlet and whoever is feeding them have trampled all over that longstanding convention.
“I am seeking legal advice regarding my response to this matter, and apart from potential legal action and this short statement, I will not be commenting further on these slurs.”
Mr Christensen’s travel to the country has previously come to the attention of Australian Federal Police, with the organisation briefing former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the issue six times. However it found “no evidence of wrongdoing” and “no evidence of criminal behaviour”.
Mr Christensen has previously called attempts to publish his travel records to the region as a “putrid” smear campaign against him.
“This whole matter is vile and defamatory,” Mr Christensen said in April.
“I’ve asked myself why I’ve been the subject of such a vile and hateful smear campaign and I can only think it is because I stood up for my electorate against the powers that be, or rather, that were, on too many occasions.
Originally published as Christensen denies ‘grubby’ allegations