NSW state MP Gareth Ward has been charged by police over historical allegations of sexual abuse of a man and a teenage boy.
Police confirmed Mr Ward had been charged with three counts of assault with an act of indecency, and one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and common assault.
Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday afternoon said the government would move a motion to remove Mr Ward from Parliament if he did not resign.
Mr Ward, 40, attended Oak Flats police station on the South Coast about noon on Tuesday, where he was charged and granted conditional bail to appear at Port Kembla Local Court on May 18.
In a statement emailed to constituents on Tuesday, Mr Ward said he totally rejected the allegations against him and would seek to bring the matter to trial as quickly as possible.
“I am innocent, and I intend to prove it,” he said.
“While I strongly support the right of genuine victims to bring forward allegations, accused persons equally are entitled to the presumption of innocence, have the right to refute allegations made against them and should be allowed the opportunity to defend themselves from claims that are simply untrue.”
The Premier on Tuesday said he had written to the state director of the Liberal Party requesting that Mr Ward be suspended from the party, pending the outcome of the criminal charges.
“Should Mr Ward not resign, the government will move a motion to remove him from the Parliament.”
The Premier said Mr Ward was entitled to defend himself against the charges, but insisted he “must do that as a private citizen”.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole, who is acting for Mr Perrottet while he is on leave, said attempts to contact Mr Ward on Tuesday afternoon had been unsuccessful.
“We expect the highest standards from our employees that are elected to come into this place. Our communities expect the highest standards. I’ll make it very clear that we have asked the member for Kiama to resign,” Mr Toole said during question time.
Mr Ward was forced to resign from the government and move to the crossbench in May last year after he revealed himself to be the subject of a criminal inquiry into sexual abuse allegations.
At the time he said he had not been contacted by police about the allegations and denied any wrongdoing.
Police later confirmed detectives from the child abuse and sex crimes squad had formed a strike force to investigate separate allegations of sexual violence-related offences against the NSW MP dating back to 2013.
“The incidents were reported to have occurred in 2013 and 2015. The 2013 incident involves a man, then aged 25, and the 2015 incident involves a male, then aged 17,” police said in July last year.
Mr Ward is the former minister for families and communities and disability services.