Peter Debnam, a former navy officer, was elected unopposed as leader of the opposition Liberal Party in New South Wales, Australia's most-populous state.
Debnam, 51, replaces 36-year-old John Brogden, who resigned three days ago after admitting to calling the Malaysian-born wife of former state leader Bob Carr a “mail-order bride,” pinching a female journalist on the bottom and propositioning another at a July function.
Brogden is being treated at a Sydney clinic after apparently attempting suicide on Tuesday.
“Our priority for the past 24 hours has been caring for the Liberal family,” Debnam, told reporters in Sydney. “The tragedy of the past week has left a deep impact on a large number of individuals,” reports Bloomberg.
According to The Age Former Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett has accused politicians surrounding John Brogden of "sticking the boot in" to bring down the former NSW opposition leader.
Senator Bartlett was forced to resign as Democrats leader in the midst of a furore over him stealing bottles of wine from a Liberal Party function and then manhandling Liberal senator Jeannie Ferris in 2003.
"Ironically it seems in this case Mr Brogden's own party were behind pushing this fairly keenly, including the so-called Christian Right in the Liberals in New South Wales, who seem to have taken over," Senator Bartlett told ABC Radio.
"I don't blame Bob Carr per se because I guess if anyone had a right to be upset it was Bob Carr, but certainly other people took the opportunity to really stick the boot in while the chance was there.
"Public figures and other people in politics see a weakness, a chance to damage somebody and just go full bore. It's always going to be that way."