National

Door-kicking Vic MP says anxiety no excuse

By AAP Newswire

A Victorian Labor MP who sensationally smashed a Canberra hotel door insists mental illness can explain his unacceptable behaviour, but doesn't excuse it.

Will Fowles, 41, kicked in the lower half of a door at the Abode Hotel during an argument with staff about his luggage in July and took a leave of absence to deal with addiction and other mental health issues.

But he returns to work on Monday, having been sober on Friday for 77 days.

Before getting back to business, the MP stressed he is dealing much better with the mental health conditions that were at the core of his addiction issues.

He is also desperate to apologise to the constituents of his seat of Burwood in Melbourne's east.

"Words can't express just how sorry I am that things spiralled out of control the way that they did some 11 weeks ago," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"I've had the opportunity to do the work, to have some serious periods of therapy, and of reflection, to have lost some weight, to have worked hard on becoming a better representative."

Mr Fowles said his actions in Canberra were driven by anxiety, as he wasn't able to access his luggage containing medication, but acknowledged that is no excuse.

"Whilst anxiety was the reason, it's not the excuse ... it wasn't acceptable behaviour."

Mr Fowles says he didn't have drugs other than alcohol on the night before the incident, but won't shed light on whether he's taken other substances more generally.

"The focus for me has to be on the future, not on the past, for the good of my health and for the good of my family."

He's also unwilling to comment on whether his government has demonstrated a double standard, supporting Mr Fowles while saying addiction issues are no excuse for poor behaviour, such as attacking emergency service workers.

"It's for others to make judgements about those matters."

His explanations has proven unsatisfactory to opposition upper house MP David Davis, whose electorate overlaps Mr Fowles'.

Mr Davis said the Labor rookie has not come completely clean on what led him to kicking down the Canberra hotel door and criticised the amount of attention Mr Fowles was giving his electorate.

"People deserve a member who is doing the work, a member who is doing the local advocacy," Mr Davis told reporters on Friday.

"I don't think he's delivering for his electorate and in that sense he should go."

Mr Fowles said he will advocate for mental health sufferers to be given the same workplace support he has received.

Mr Fowles spoke to reporters at a Burwood park flanked by his wife Jessica Fox, who said the past three months have been the most difficult their family has experienced.

But she noted there has been a silver lining.

"It has been an interesting and almost joyful experience to see how he has come in his recovery."

Mr Fowles agreed to go with police for questioning after the Canberra incident, but was not charged, and agreed to cover the cost of damage.

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