A controversial former education union secretary faced with multiple sexual harassment allegations has stepped down from his bid for presidency of the ACT branch, while at the same time categorically denying the allegations.
A statement obtained from The Canberra Times has unveiled Glenn Fowler has decided to withdraw his candidacy for president of the Australian Education Union ACT branch.
Mr Fowler in his statement said the battle for union president had not been a fair fight.
"I am reluctantly withdrawing my candidacy for President of the AEU ACT Branch," he said in his statement.
"In the nine years I have led the union, I have always fought hard but fair. I naively thought this election for President could be a clean fight. It has not been."
His withdrawal follows a number of sexual harassment claims made against him by seven union staffers, which have previously said their voices had been silenced by a lengthy investigation process.
Mr Fowler vehemently denies any claim of sexual harassments, stating in two cases it was a consensual relationship.
He had been stood down as union secretary with pay following the allegations made to current president Angela Burroughs while "charges" were brought against him under the branch rules. No finding has been made in relation to those charges.
"I once again emphatically deny the allegations that have been made against me, and I am shocked and appalled at the flawed processes to which I have been subjected over the past nine months," Mr Fowler said.
"In the end, I have to put my health and my family first. I am also conscious of the disruption this matter is causing within the union's membership."
The Australian Electoral Commission confirmed that Mr Fowler had made contact regarding his withdrawal but said it was too late for him to take his name off the ballot.
The voting process is currently underway.
The AEC confirmed in the case of Mr Fowler winning the vote, he would be deemed ineligible following his decision to pull out.
Mr Fowler claimed he had no apologies about his stepping down or time at the union within senior positions.
"I make no apologies for my fierce defence of teacher professionalism," he said.
"Nobody should tell teachers how to teach or how to test, and teachers must never forget this. I thank all of my many amazing supporters. They know who they are."
Current AEU ACT Branch president Angela Burroughs said Mr Fowler had resigned his membership from the union on Tuesday, making him ineligible to hold office.
"As Mr Fowler did not withdraw his candidacy within the prescribed periods in respect of the two elections he is contesting, and as voting has commenced, those ballots will continue," Ms Burroughs said.
"I understand that Mr Fowler's lawyers have written to the Branch's Rules Committee notifying it that as Mr Fowler is no longer a member, the Rules Committee is no longer empowered to deal with the matters brought against him."
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