… in the Politician of the Year contest has emerged in the Queen’s own state.
But first a walk down memory lane. A previous winner has withdrawn from a civil case against him on the grounds that defending himself is endangering his life. The man who concluded the lying defence of his venality with the assertion that Tony Abbott wasn’t fit to be in the parliament has decided not to contest the case brought by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission are seeking to recover $5000 of HSU funds spent on prostitutes and about $350,000 used for his campaign for the seat of Dobell. Craig Thomson asked the court to dismiss the case because it increased his risk of self harm. Not an entirely original strategy …
The new guy is Billy Gordon. As far as can be determined from the media a combination of malign influences exerted by Tony Abbott and the Catholic Church caused Mr Gordon to beat up a couple of his wives and his mother and avoid making child maintenance payments. His rap sheet includes some other minor matters such as breaking and entering.
Billy was first preselected for the federal election of 2013 and endorsed by Kevin Rudd as a seriously good bloke. This despite the fact that his extensive criminal history was known to the Bligh Labor Government at least as early as 2008.
It has to be noted with considerable approval that Premier Bucket of Queensland has acted decisively to excise this cancerous growth from the Labor body politic, waiting only long enough to secure his vote in last Friday’s confidence motion and for him to resign. It will be six weeks before parliament sits again. If that seems of dubious virtue, she is a paragon when compared with Julia Gillard’s handling of the Thomson affair or Ted Baillieu’s sheltering of Geoff Shaw.
I have no brief for Geoff Shaw, if he has corruptly misused his government car and other entitlements then let him face the consequences. If a former prime minister permitted the corrupt misuse of her government car let her face the consequences, too. But, hey, fair go with the other stuff.
Yesterday we saw some ugly footage of Mr Shaw pushing over a protester. You can find it on Youtube, I won’t bother putting a link. It shows just enough of the incident to give the impression of nasty Mr Shaw pushing over a poor old man. Today we can see the incident from an earlier point. You can watch it <HERE>. Clearly on this charge Mr Shaw has no case to answer.
Politicians should have safe access to their workplace, it is ridiculous that they should have to run the gauntlet of violent protesters.
And how useful were the protective services officers at the top of the steps?
“Victoria Police has charged a 45-year-old Frankston man with 23 charges of obtain financial advantage by deception and one count of misconduct in public office,” Victoria Police spokeswoman Cath Allen said.
“The charges relate to an investigation into allegations of misconduct in public office by a serving member of the Victorian Parliament in 2011.”
Mr Shaw has been summoned to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 8 October. <HeraldSun>
The parallels between the federal government propped up by the execrable Craig Thomson and the Victorian state government and Mr Shaw are uncanny. The leaders concerned both put their government survival ahead of any thoughts of ethical behaviour, whilst both alleged miscreants will find themselves in court fairly soon.
Mr Shaw has apparently repaid $1250. Which brings us to another interesting parallel …
JULIA Gillard wrote a personal cheque for $4243 to the Department of Finance because her partner, Tim Mathieson, had misused her taxpayer-funded car to drive around Victoria selling shampoo and other haircare products in breach of parliamentary rules.
Documents released to The Australian under Freedom of Information laws yesterday show that Ms Gillard made the payment on March 9, 2007, as deputy leader of the opposition because of concern over a breach of rules forbidding the use of the car for commercial purposes. The documents were provided yesterday after a 10-month battle by the former prime minister and her office to prevent the Department of Finance from following through on its decision to release the material. <TheAustralian>
Can we look forward to Miss Gillard’s appearence on similar charges?
The ombudsman, George Brouwer, has found that Liberal MP Geoff Shaw inappropriately used his parliamentary vehicle for commercial purposes. An excerpt from his report …
Misuse of parliamentary resources
44. At interview, Mr Shaw gave evidence that he knew his parliamentary
vehicle could not be used for commercial use. However, my investigation
identified that Mr Shaw used his parliamentary vehicle for a commercial
trip to Sale and that he used his parliamentary fuel card to purchase fuel
for a private vehicle on one occasion, in contravention of the Members of
Parliament Motor Vehicle Plan (the plan).
45. Mr Shaw’s parliamentary vehicle was also used by Southern Cross
Hardware for commercial use, including interstate trips. My investigation
established, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Shaw had knowledge
his employees were using his vehicle in this way.
Mr. Baillieu has a problem. He has a one seat majority and a by-election in Frankston may not go his way. Does he do a Julia and prop up someone guilty of misusing the opportunities that come with office or does he stick to principle and let him go?
Trust the electorate, Ted, you’ve done nothing to offend them. Indeed you’ve done nothing … it worked for Bracks.
Photos obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun show the parliamentary car being loaded with Southern Cross Hardware supplies at the company’s headquarters in Carrum Downs in November.
Hansard records show that on November 8, 2011, while his taxpayer-funded car was being driven to Adelaide, Mr Shaw was in (the Victorian) Parliament where he spoke about government energy schemes and he invited the Tourism Minister, Louise Asher, to visit Frankston.
For a government with a one seat majority, a dilemma.
There is no dilemma. If this is found to be true then Mr. Shaw is unfit, he should be made to repay and resign. The alternative would prove that the Parliaments of Australia have learnt nothing from the Thomson affair.
And whilst assessing the collective intelligence of the Parliaments of Australia would have to be approached with caution it would be very sad if it were so low as to let this fester for the life of a government.