West n MP Barry Urban has quit after a committee made the unprecedented recommendation he should be expelled for committing a “gross and aggravated contempt of parliament”.
The Labor-turned-independent Member for Darling Range resigned moments after the report was tabled in parliament on Tuesday, having been found to have repeatedly lied about his education and work history.
“There was overwhelming and compelling evidence to refute the member’s claims and conversely there was no credible evidence supporting the member’s claims,” Procedures and Privileges Committee chair Peter Watson said.
Mr Urban was even found to have deliberately sought to deceive the committee by providing a forgery of a degree from the University of Leeds.
“(He has) demonstrated a pattern of serial dishonesty and deception for at least two decades,” Mr Watson said.
“This is not a case of a single error of judgment.”
The committee concluded Mr Urban was not the person he represented himself to be and had breached the trust of his constituents and parliamentary colleagues.
“This is a situation I regret and it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Mr Urban told parliament.
Premier Mark McGowan said Mr Urban’s conduct was completely and utterly unacceptable, and apologised to the electorate.
The resignation will trigger a by-election for Darling Range, which Mr Urban won with a 5.8 per cent margin in March last year, with the seat previously held by the Liberals for decades.
Mr McGowan suspected the swing to Labor was based on the “prevailing mood at the time” under the Barnett government, but the party could not rely on it this time.
He said he was annoyed the electorate must go to the polls again, but was back in campaign mode, saying his government was committed to extending a rail line and building a new primary school in the area.
He also conceded Labor’s preselection process needed improvement, but said not every detail could be “chased down”.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan described Mr Urban as Mr McGowan’s “man” and called it a “dark day” for the parliament.
“This will be a referendum on Mr McGowan, on his putting a fraudster into the seat of Darling Range and also breaking promises on taxes, fees and charges, and cuts to frontline services,” Dr Nahan told reporters.
“Mr Urban should never have stood, he should never have been preselected and he should have stood down some time ago.”