I’ve been watching the whole Troy Buswell, chair sniffing scandal from afar, having left WA in February.
For those not familiar with the story, WA Liberal leader Troy Buswell, having managed to become party leader last year despite a “bra-snapping” scandal, was exposed as a chair sniffer. The short version is that Troy apparently sniffed the chair of a female staffer, then apparently crawled around on the floor, all while completely sober.
I’ve met Troy, his wife, his family, even been to his house. She who must be obeyed helped Troy roll the sitting member for Vasse a couple of years back so he could enter Parliament.
Troy would be one of the most talented politicians I’ve ever seen speak, and I’ve seen a bloody lot during my time in politics, including even Clinton back in 96 and William Hague in 98. His ability to capture an audience has always been first class, and as the record shows much of his rise to the leadership was off the back of his stellar parliamentary performances.
But there was always a dark side to Troy. We learnt very early on that his ambition and greed for power were unfortunately his overwhelming driver. He slowly turned on or failed to support those who had supported him along the way. Over time my opinion of him diminished significantly, from one of awe and deep respect to one of disgust. They say loyalty means nothing in politics, but in my experience good politicians remain true to their base, and never forget those who helped them along the way.
So today, in Perth, probably by the time you read this (I’ll update the post later) Troy is facing a spill in the party room. He claims that he still has the numbers and he will live on. Even in political death, Troy has once again shown that his lust for power and position is more powerful than honour and doing the right thing.
The right thing is that Troy should resign.
Imagine the 2009 WA election campaign with the Opposition being headed up by Troy Buswell. Imagine the fun the Labor Party will have with chair sniffing attack ads. Here’s the key: the bra-snapping might have been a drunken lark, but chair sniffing is down right creepy and the people of WA will know that. More importantly female voters en-masse will flock to the ALP when presented with a creepy chair sniffer as the alternative Premier of the State. Simply Troy is now tarnished goods, and there is absolutely no amount of spin that can save him in the eyes of the electorate.
Of course the alternative Liberal Leader is a rather interesting choice: Steve Thomas, the vet from Donnybrook. I thought he was an awful candidate for the seat of Capel, but much to the surprise of many in the South West he’s worked extremely hard and actually turned out to be a really good, honest hard working member of Parliament. But there are Skeletons in his closet as well, no chair sniffing incidents that I’m aware of, but lets just say Steve on the piss is one of the more interesting things I’ve seen in my life. Having said that hard drinking is a badge of honour in WA, if and when the stories come out they’ll probably help give him a boost in the polls.