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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 05:09 GMT 06:09 UK
NSW politician quits after slur
John Brogden at a press conference to announce his resignation
Mr Brogden admitted having had a few drinks, but denied being drunk
A leading Australian politician has resigned after calling an opponent's Asian-born wife a "mail order bride".

John Brogden stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party in New South Wales state after insulting the wife of former state premier Bob Carr.

"I acted dishonourably and now is the time to act honourably," he said.

He admitted having had a few drinks to celebrate Mr Carr's recent departure as state leader before making the comments at a party thrown for the media.

The comments I made were absolutely and completely inappropriate
John Brogden
But he denied being drunk at the Australian Hotels Association event three weeks ago, at which he also pinched the bottom of a female journalist and propositioned another.

Mr Brogden, who was tipped as a likely successor to Mr Carr in the next state elections, announced his resignation at a press conference in Sydney.

'Insulting to all Asians'

"The comments I made were absolutely and completely inappropriate. They are not true and I apologise for them fulsomely and genuinely," he said.

He also apologised to the two female journalists. "My actions were in jest but that does not excuse the fact they were inappropriate actions," said the married 37-year-old.

Bob Carr and wife Helena in February 2005
Bob Carr, pictured with wife Helena, recently stepped down as premier

Mr Carr earlier said his comment had not just been "hurtful" to his Malaysia-born wife Helena but insulted all Asian immigrants.

"Every Asian family in Australia has been diminished by John Brogden's racism," he said.

Prime Minister John Howard, leader of Mr Brogden's party, also condemned the comments as "just quite wrong".

"I know Helena Carr and she's a very gracious person. That sort of comment should never have been made," he told TV's Nine Network.

New South Wales head steps down
27 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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