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the hell with this whole affair: Troy Buswell

27 April, 2010

Three weeks before the WA state budget is due, State Treasurer and Member for Vasse Troy Buswell has resigned from the Cabinet (but not from Parliament) after an affair with Greens MP for Fremantle Adele Carles (who hasn’t yet appeared on this site), and the misuse of taxpayers’ funds during this, was made public. You can read about this on the likes of the ABC and the Australian, with commentary on the ABC’s the Drum Unleashed, Crikey, and News Limited’s the Punch.

Buswell was Leader of the Opposition for the first half of 2008 before resigning the post in August 2008, and had been State Treasurer since the Liberal party formed a coalition with the Nationals after the September 2008 state election. If you read some of the articles linked to above, it will be clear that Buswell did not avoid controversy or scandal while Leader of the Opposition, and this WA Today timeline provides more information on Buswell’s political career. One event, though, has become the primary association with Buswell over the last two years, that being the allegations (later admitted to) that he had sniffed the chair of a female staffer in 2005 – indeed, the headlines over the last two days after Buswell’s affair became public knowledge have consistently used variations on ‘sniffer’.

This site hadn’t featured any chair-sniffing-related material previously (early 2008 was time when activity slowed down here), and while there are some entertaining exchanges involving Buswell in the archives – for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 – we might as well use this opportunity to add a post showing how the sniffing would resurface at opportune times (i.e. Treasurer’s Advance Authorisation Bills, Appropriation and Consolidated Fund/Account Bills). For more considered commentary, some of the above sites might be a good start. But then again, we’ve never aimed for balance or in-depth discussion – just the funny bits in Hansard.

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: […] Basically, as of last year’s budget, the estimated surplus for this year was $1.8 billion. In four years’ time, 2011-12, that $1.8 billion surplus will have dropped to a $200 million surplus. Therefore, within the budgeting parameters that the former government adopted in the May budget of last year, the surplus dropped from
$1.8 billion to $200 million. That is a $1.6 billion decline in the annual surplus across a four-year period, and in actual fact, when we put it on a graph, that decline is almost linear. It is a fairly consistent decline in the surplus. Therefore, one would argue that a structural issue is deeply embedded in the finances of Western Australia.

Mr M.P. Whitely: The revision that came about since you got into government has us going into deficit.

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: If you will let me finish, Einstein, you will understand the point I am trying to make. A person who flies around with John Travolta and reads L. Ron Hubbard – just wait until the end of time and I will let you know exactly what has happened.

Mr M.P. Whitely: They believe some pretty strange things, but I do not know that they believe in seat sniffing for sexual gratification.

The SPEAKER: Order, members!

Mr M. McGowan: If you’re going to attack people, you’ll get it back!

Mr T.R. BUSWELL: What happens if I do? Will the leader of opposition business refuse to give me a pair?

The SPEAKER: Order, Treasurer and the member for Bassendean! The member for Bassendean might not have
been in this place when I made some remarks, so I will make them again. I do not mind making them. We are in here to discuss a particular bill. I am not interested in references to other incidents that might have happened in other places. I also draw the Treasurer’s attention to those remarks I have just made.

Subject: Treasurer’s Advance Authorisation Bill 2009 [Legislative Assembly – Second Reading]

Date: 19 March 2009

Hansard reference: pp. 2228 – 2229 [online (pdf)]

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