One of the group of Australian men who were arrested for stripping down to their speedos at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix has resigned from his job at the office of Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.
Jack Walker was employed as a senior policy advisor to Mr Pyne. He was also one of the so-called ‘Budgie Nine’ whose antics at the GP last Sunday following the win by Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo were broadcast around the world.
In a statement, the minister said Mr Walker had expressed regret for any embarrassment he had caused the Australian government.
“One lapse of judgement does not detract from the fact that Jack has been an outstanding staff member, a significant contributor to my office since late 2013 and I believe he will have a bright future,” Mr Pyne added.
Ricciardo was also more empathetic to the group of his supporters than were the local authorities, but said they should have been a bit “more careful”.
“At the time they thought it was a bit of harmless fun, and were enjoying the celebrations,” the driver told HuffPo.
“It was a while since I won, and they were excited.
“They didn’t realise the effect it would have on the locals.”
The gang were taken into custody by Malaysian authorities after they stripped down trackside at the grand prix to reveal speedos, fondly referred to in Australia as ‘budgie smugglers’, with the Malaysian flag incorporated into the swimsuits’ design.
It is believed that it was this aspect (the flag) more specifically than just the men’s lack of attire in public that caused most alarm in the relatively conservative country.
After spending a few nervous days in custody, with the prospect of a jail term being dished out for their behaviour, the group were given just a caution by the court on Thursday and allowed to return to Australia.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had some advise for Mr Walker in particular.
“Certainly the young man involved needs to have a very hard look at himself and I’m sure he will be considering his future carefully,” Malcolm Turnbull said, according to the ABC.