A NSW Young Liberal, who was suspended from the party for making lewd comments about women on social media, has been volunteering in the electorate office of a minister and attending official Liberal Party functions.
Jacob Sich was suspended for six months from the party in February, along with three other Young Liberals, for behaviour described by NSW Liberal Party President Chris Stone as "absolutely unacceptable".
While the party portrayed its action against the young men then as decisive, they have been largely free to return to the Liberal fold, with their suspensions extending only to official party meetings, such as branch meetings.
Mr Sich was forced to resign as a staffer to Kiama MP Gareth Ward, after The Sun-Herald revealed he had made demeaning comments about women in a Facebook chat group meant for election campaigning. Another Young Liberal was sacked from his role as a staffer to Nationals Minister Adam Marshall.
My view is that we must be prepared to stand up and say we don't want men in our party who treat women in such a demeaning manner.
Mr Ward, now the Minister for Family and Community Services, initially said he was "not aware" Mr Sich had returned to his electorate office when asked by The Sun-Herald, but later confirmed Mr Sich was assisting with office duties in an unpaid role.
"Mr Sich has done a handful of days volunteering and hasn't been paid a cent," Mr Ward said.
Mr Ward said his electorate office was "independent of the Liberal Party".
Mr Sich has also continued to attend official Liberal Party functions while suspended, including the annual Young Liberal Ball held last weekend at the Ivy Ballroom. He also attended a Young Liberal cruise around Sydney Harbour in March.
Mr Sich was one of 17 members of a Young Liberal Facebook group created last year when the group was helping out on the South Australian election.
The stream of offensive comments began after one of the men posted a screenshot to the group of a woman he had connected with on the dating app Tinder in a bid to persuade her to vote Liberal.
In response to the screenshot, Mr Sich described the woman as a "potato", before adding "a potato that can vote."
"Then root and boot her and leave some HTVs [how-to-vote cards]. F..k I could go some fries right now."
The comments were immediately rebuked by several female Young Liberals in the group chat.
"Really disappointing to see so many nasty comments about a woman who you don't know," one woman said.
The behaviour was also strongly condemned at the time by Liberal Women's Council president Mary-Lou Jarvis.
"My view is that we must be prepared to stand up and say we don't want men in our party who treat women in such a demeaning manner," Ms Jarvis wrote in a Facebook post at the time.
The NSW Liberal Party on Friday indicated no further action would be taken on the matter, with a party spokesman confirming the suspension "meant that they were unable to attend Branch, State Council or other meetings of Party bodies, and lost all of their voting rights".
"The suspensions given to these individuals should send a clear message that such behaviour would not be tolerated, and the Liberal Party expects high standards of behaviour from our members," the spokesman said.
NSW Young Liberal President Harry Stutchbury said the party's youth wing "did not have control over who can and can't buy tickets" to its events.
"The Young Liberal ball is an open event, not exclusive to members of the Liberal party. The cruise was a branch event," Mr Stutchbury said.
The party's response has been met with outrage from some members of the Young Liberals. One female member said the suspension was "offensively tokenistic" and "put in place to avoid criticism".
"It shows they don't really care about enforcing any consequences - particularly when anyone would realise it's only when attendance at all events tied to the party is barred that men will feel as though they can't engage in sexist behaviour," she said.
Another member, who previously served on the Young Liberal executive, described the suspension as a "joke".
"It's unbelievable that someone who was suspended can keep attending party events," the member said.
Mr Sich did not respond to requests for comment.