MP breaks silence on drunken fight
LES Walker doesn't remember the fight that could have cost him his political career.
Early Saturday morning, Mr Walker was knocked unconscious at the Mad Cow Tavern in Flinders Street during a fight with two young men.
But the Mundingburra MP says he has never seen the footage and has no memory of the fateful blow.
After numerous calls for Mr Walker to explain himself, the 56-year-old has told his side of the story exclusively to the Townsville Bulletin.
This comes after he and the two men, 19 and 20, were slapped with $800 public nuisance infringements and banned from the Safe Night Precinct for 10 days. Mr Walker said he was out at a restaurant with about 15 friends and family to celebrate his birthday on January 15.
He recalls arriving at the Mad Cow just before midnight and said it was only supposed to be a "short stay", but time got away from him.
While the exact details of the lead up to the fight between Mr Walker and the two men are still not known, sources say CCTV footage shows the incident started with a verbal disagreement.
The footage shows Mr Walker shoving one of the men first before the second man punches the MP.
"Honestly, I can't (explain what happened) due to the sustained head injury," Mr Walker said.
"I can't recall what happened.
"The police will not let me see the video because I've been informed by the police and my legal people it will taint me giving evidence in the statement."
Paramedics were called and Mr Walker was taken to hospital about 1am.
He told the Bulletin he could only vaguely remember part of the ambulance trip, but does remember speaking with the doctor at Townsville University Hospital.
"My memory is gone for a portion prior to the event," he said.
The MP said he didn't count the number of drinks he consumed, but said he was being "responsible".
"Like most people when you're celebrating … I was enjoying myself for my birthday." He said his family and friends told him the Mad Cow Tavern staff had been incredibly helpful before emergency services arrived.
Mr Walker spoke "at length" with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday afternoon, who made her position known.
"She made it very clear what her standards are about what she expects from her colleagues and her team," Mr Walker said.
"I understand that clearly.
"I sincerely apologise for finding myself in that position and (I will give) an iron-clad guarantee I will not find myself in that position again."
Despite the fight, Mr Walker said his determination to tackle crime had not wavered.
"We find crime fighters in these situations all the time," he said.
"We've had medical people assaulted in their line of work. It can happen to anybody. It's not good."
Mr Walker said he had never been in an altercation like this before and the situation had confused and perplexed him.
"You try all day long (to remember), you play it over. I won't find myself in that position again, I just won't.
"I don't want to be in that position again. It won't happen."
He has pledged to "work harder" and regain the trust of his community, saying a politician should "probably not" find themselves in this situation.
"I wish to apologise to the people of the seat of Mundingburra. I will work even harder to regain that trust.
"It's disappointing, I don't want to go through it again."
Mr Walker said he wanted to share his side of the story earlier but had been advised to stay out of the media until the investigation was complete.
He has no plan to challenge the restrictions or fine imposed on him. "I accept the outcome, I will abide by the restrictions that are imposed on me. The police have done what they had to do. I am no different to anybody else, I will abide by what they have decided and we move forward."
The new MP said others should learn from his mistakes and not stay out late, be responsible, mindful and think about their actions.
"You can be caught out too late," he said.
"Think about what you're doing. Think before you act."
Doctors are monitoring Mr Walker's head injury, which is his second concussion. His first one was in 1998 from a car crash.
The MP has also seen a dentist to address some issues with his teeth.
Mr Walker said doctors did not believe he would ever regain memories of the incident.
"It's unusual for that to happen. It is very, very, very rare."
Originally published as EXCLUSIVE: MP breaks silence on drunken fight