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Posts Tagged ‘Buswell’

NCB wails for what might have been

Posted by occidentprone on August 5, 2008

That ghost of Liberals past, Noel Crichton-Browne, reared his head today in the form of an article on the State Liberal leadership for Crikey. Not so much a think piece as a lament.

Had Buswell not cast his vote for Omodei, Omodei would never have been leader and would not consequently have harboured the bitterness and rage from his own sacking which poisoned Buswell’s leadership. Had time shown Birney not to be up to the job, Buswell would have naturally inherited the position without bitterness or rancour.

The political tragedy for the Western Australian Liberal Party is that it has lost a leader of high intellect, excellent debating skills and good presentation destroyed by school boy misbehaviour.

A tragedy you say? High intellect?

And where does NCB fit in – headmaster to Buswell’s naughty schoolboy? Guidance counsellor?

Buswell, once shire president of Busselton, had meetings with NCB  but in 2006 he denied that he had been threatened by him in relation to the Canal Rocks development. Read more about the Canal Rocks melodrama at the ABC’s 7.30 Report.

Here’s an extract from ABC Perth’s flagship TV current affairs show, Flatline, oops I mean Stateline, in February this year, soon after Buswell became leader:

REBECCA CARMODY: And people have been making suggestions all week that different people wield unhealthy influence within the Liberal Party.

Did Mr Crichton-Browne assist in your preselection?

TROY BUSWELL: No, Rebecca. I was preselected back in 2003 for the Liberal Party. And I would like to think that I was preselected at that time on my own merits by a group of independently minded people.

REBECCA CARMODY: Do you recall the last conversation you had with Mr Crichton-Browne? When was that?

TROY BUSWELL: The last time I spoke to Noel Crichton-Browne was in the back half of 2006, so going back almost 18 months now.

Why is Crichton-Browne a dirty word? He was expelled from the Liberal Party in 1995 for a series of incidents, including allegations of sexual harassment and threats.

The Australian claims a whiff of intrigue and that a small group of senior Libs were behind getting Buswell to step down. But it doesn’t name them. Small group of powerbrokers pulling strings in a political party? Hardly intriguing and hardly news.

Meanwhile, Colin Barnett has confirmed he wants the leadership back and is expected to take the reins tomorrow. No one is expected to oppose him for the leadership but Deidre Willmott is standing between him and his seat (no Liberal seat jokes please).

After all, Barnett did say he was retiring but I guess a grumpy old bloke can change his mind, even if it is at the expense of new blood and potential talent. The Libs have got that in spades so where’s the harm, right?

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buswell’s gone … now what?

Posted by occidentprone on August 4, 2008

Troy Buswell has quit as leader of the WA opposition. He’s learnt the meaning of the word ‘opposition’ this past few weeks with backbenchers, a former leader and the state’s daily all working against him and working towards this moment. 

Colin Barnett, who failed to set the electorate alight with his personality – and that was against Geoff Gallop – is waiting in the wings. Buswell is in his first term, while Barnett has been a politician for 18 years. 

Earlier today, Liberal forces revealed that Mr Buswell saw internal party polling on Friday night which showed him that the Liberals would be devastated under his leadership at the next election.

It is understood Mr Buswell decided to stand down regardless of whether Mr Barnett can be persuaded to lead the party.

The polling is believed to to mirror a recent WestPoll which showed that the Liberal Party would be competitive at an election under Mr Barnett.

However high profile lawyer Deidre Willmott appears to be standing in the way of Mr Barnett’s return. The political hopeful has already been endorsed for Mr Barnett’s blue ribbon seat of Cottesloe and sources say she is “refusing to budge”.

It is understood party officials are trying to persaude her this morning to put her political career on hold for the sake of the party.

If Ms Willmott insists on retaining her endorsement, it is possible that deputy leader Kim Hames or Treasurey spokesman Steve Thomas would step up for the top job. (Source: The West Australian)

Buswell told media today he was not ‘unelectable’ but that the Libs had a better chance with a change.

Some background from the ABC

Mr Buswell’s leadership deeply divided the party during his six months at the helm.

He has survived two leadership spill motions this year.

They followed revelations of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff members at State Parliament in Western Australia.

In February this year he publicly apologised after admitting to snapping the bra strap of a Labor staff member during a drunken night at Parliament last year.

In May, he initially refused to be drawn on accusations that he sniffed the chair of a female Liberal staff member, then fought back tears when he eventually confessed.

The incident drew national and international media attention and senior Liberal MPs were reportedly furious with Mr Buswell for his behaviour.

He narrowly won a leadership spill in early May and shortly afterwards sacked former Liberal leader Paul Omodei, saying he would not tolerate public attacks.

Another leadership plot was hatched in June and Mr Buswell again retained his job.

However Mr Buswell and the Liberal Party have suffered in the polls and many Liberal MPs seem concerned the party would be decimated at the next election if he remained leader.

Speculation is mounting that Premier Alan Carpenter will call an election soon.

So now what? The anti-Buswell camp have got what they wanted after summoning all their backbiting, white-anting passive-aggressive superpowers but what’s the alternative? 

Buswell was the fourth opposition leader since the last election. That points to something and here’s a hint, its not depth of talent.

So with an election soon, can the opposition to learn the meaning of the word ‘opposition’ and stick it to the government?

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Give the Liberals a bullet

Posted by occidentprone on July 23, 2008

The Liberals are a mess. From the backbench an old blue-blood threatens the leader, says he’ll quit and jeopardises stability. Today’s leader fears for his tenure, made all the worse by bad press and poor polls. Meanwhile, the Labor government has a blank cheque to do whatever it wants because voters can’t stomach the alternative.

WA Libs or the federal party? Well, both.

In the west, Troy Buswell had a meeting with former leader Colin Barnett “as speculation grew of a change in the Liberal leadership before the looming State election”, according to The West.

With Mr Barnett declaring that the “door was still ajar” for him to return to the leadership, Mr Buswell refused to reveal what was discussed at the hour-long meeting in Mr Barnett’s Stirling Highway office.

On a day when senior Liberals split over who should lead the party to the election in the wake of a damning Westpoll that put Mr Buswell’s standing as preferred premier at just 12 per cent, the Opposition Leader was adamant he would not stand aside for Mr Barnett.

After the meeting, which Mr Buswell said was organised on Monday and before columnist Paul Murray called in The West Australian for the Vasse MP to step aside, Mr Buswell said it was still “his understanding” that Mr Barnett intended to retire at the coming election.

“As far as I’m concerned, it was a private conversation and I don’t feel compelled to discuss it with The West Australian,” Mr Buswell said. “It was a wide-ranging conversation.”

Earlier, Mr Barnett accepted that he had not fully closed the door on a return to the leadership despite announcing his retirement and the party endorsing former Chamber of Commerce and Industry lawyer Deidre Willmott for his seat of Cottesloe.

It’s a spooky parallel of what’s happening in Canberra. Brendan Nelson scoffs at any suggestion he’s ready to stand aside as leader for Peter Costello, says The Australian.

Couldabeen Costello would be on the frontbench “with a bullet”, Nelson says. Curious choice of words from Nelson. As a doctor and ex defence minister he is surely across the damage bullets can do.

With some Costello supporters fanning suggestions in recent days that he would stay on and seek the Liberal Party leadership, Dr Nelson told The Australian he intended to lead the Opposition to the next federal election, due in 2010.

He said Mr Costello was entitled to announce his future in his own time.

“He and his family have earned the right to make a decision which is in their best interest and that of the people of(his electorate of) Higgins,” Dr Nelson said.

“Peter will announce his decision in due course. I will be very happy if Peter chooses to stay, but I will respect his decision if he chooses to go.

Nelson says all this while whistling “I’m not scared, what a beautiful day”.

What is it with the Libs letting the party haemorrhage in the polls while dithering over leadership? A good leader is worth gold but if you haven’t got that, go for stability, loyalty, unity. Voters love these things too.

Posted in Australian politics, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Troy who?

Posted by occidentprone on July 9, 2008

Liberal heavyweights were in Perth last night as ex PM John Howard gave the gracious farewell speech we’ve all been waiting for.

Howard’s craw aside, WA’s most senior Liberal Troy Buswell – remember him, leader of the opposition – was either snubbed or dismissed as an unknown on the federal Lib radar, depending on the media you read.

The West Australian‘s paper edition (but not on its website) said Alexander Downer passed comment that he didn’t know Buswell and The Australian said he was ignored altogether:

Although a state election is looming, the party’s scandal-plagued West Australian leader Troy Buswell was all but ignored. Seated several tables away from Mr Howard, he did not rate a comment from any of the Liberal stalwarts who took the stage, including deputy federal Liberal leader Julie Bishop and retiring former foreign minister Alexander Downer.

Is the national tier of the party deliberately distancing itself from Buswell because they don’t want to be tainted by his poor behaviour?

Or do they think he’ll not last long enough to be a real player (that is, in government)?

Or is the rarefied Canberra air such that the state parties don’t rate?

Or have Howard and Downer forgotten about politics already and are looking to other enriching experiences (even though Downer is still an MP)?

If I were Buswell I would be taking this very personally.

Posted in Australian politics, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The Birney experiment revisited

Posted by occidentprone on June 17, 2008

Say it isn’t so. The Liberals could be about to nominate Matt Birney as leader, says ABC. And Libs are disgruntled because Troy Buswell is immature? Then your real disappointments await.

The Western Australian Liberal leader, Troy Buswell, is again under challenge with the Upper House MP Anthony Fels confirming he will move a spill motion against Mr Buswell at a party room meeting this morning.

The Liberal Party has been riven by infighting in the past few months, and Mr Buswell survived a spill motion by just three votes only six weeks ago, after he admitted sniffing the chair of a female staffer.

Mr Fels says he will nominate the former leader Matt Birney for the leadership position, and expects him to be elected.

“We have the numbers and the numbers are going to support the spill, that’s already known so I would expect by 9, shortly after 9.30am this morning there would be a vacancy there and shortly there after Matt Birney will be elected leader of the Liberal Party,” he said.

Fels told The West Australian he had another agenda:

Mr Fels, who has been dumped as an endorsed Liberal candidate for the next election, admitted his own personal interest in having Mr Buswell removed as leader.

Fair enough – but Birney? At least Buswell has a degree of intellectual weight and is a good performer in Parliament. I’m not endorsing him but if there’s anyone he looks good against, it’s Birney.

It’s good timing too as the Pope is coming to Australia next month. Remember when Birney suggested the Pope had a partner?

And took his then girlfriend (now wife) on a taxpayer’s overseas jaunt? Altering his shares register without telling anyone? A close call with an RBT?

And that he said he was quitting last year?

We will see after the spill meeting.

Read more about Birney in a Stateline piece here.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Will the last one out please turn off the lights?

Posted by occidentprone on June 16, 2008

Over the last few days, Troy Buswell has demoted John McGrath and Rob Johnson and given Graham Jacobs a stern talking to. At this rate the Liberal front bench will be just Troy and a bunch of empty seats. A chair sniffer’s delight.

Buswell has some real problems with discipline in his party. Do they really want to be in government? Surely not. Maybe they have some psychological problems with winning, like the Dockers did before the weekend. Because any party with a heartbeat could have beaten Labor a month back – and then we had a gas crisis and the state is cactus. 

And still the opposition doesn’t have a chance.

To the Libs: Will the last one out please turn off the lights – if they haven’t already gone out due to lack of power.


Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Desperate Liberals

Posted by occidentprone on June 13, 2008

Tonight’s episode of Desperate Liberals sees Rob, Wisteria Lane’s silver-haired troublemaker, threaten to leave in a snit over favouritism between friends.  Hapless Troy, whose personal problems have almost brought undone him in the past, is caught between doing the right thing and getting rid of the neighbourhood nuisance. Troy has heard such threats before, from mentor-gone-mental Paul O. And Paul O. finally gets a spine, even though his own threats to run away sound like a broken record.

John Mc, who took a gamble on baddie Burkie, awaits bad-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold Troy’s proposal.


Meanwhile, on CSI Varanus, the sexy-geek team looks at fingerprints to a bass heavy Who soundtrack to find the cause of the minor explosion that has brought Perth Vegas to a halt. A pig abattoir is washed free from gore as shrinking gas supplies give the little porkers a reprieve.

Fran boasts of his private energy publicly but wants to keep his ministerial energy business private, a problem for firm-but-fair boss Carps: “Logan, my office, NOW”. 

Posted in Diversions, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Umm ahh John McGrath

Posted by occidentprone on June 12, 2008

WA Liberal MP John McGrath says he has no idea Brian Burke might have had a commercial interest in a subject when Burke gave him material to table a motion in Parliament.

It’s an easy mistake to make. Burke, renowned for his philanthropy and generosity, could well have taken time out to pull together a few words on a worthy cause – in this case road safety. McGrath is right, how could he have known he was dancing with the devil? Except that Burke is the busiest lobbyist in the state – where could he find the time, that he and McGrath are opposite sides of the line, that Burke was representing a client who sold radar detectors, that ummm, you know – it’s Brian Burke.

Former West sports reporter McGrath can’t possibly be the naif he claims. He was a journalist for many many years – maybe he even worked with Burke? And even in the sports department of a news outlet, word filters through of the big news – political corruption, royal commissions, premiers jailed, that sort of thing.

Still, you’ve got to give the man the benefit of the doubt, even if ex-leader Paul Omodei can’t. Emboldened by the fact that he’s dead man walking, Omodei did the “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” dance in Parliament yesterday. 

Former Liberal leader Paul Omodei accused his one-time mate John McGrath of lying today in a heated exchange over dealings with bogeyman Brian Burke.

“Are you calling me a liar,’’ Mr McGrath asked Mr Omodei as the two faced off in State Parliament. 

To which Mr Omodei said: “Yes I am.’’ 

Liberals were left red faced and Labor MPs left smiling after the curse of Mr Burke divided the conservatives – instead of the State Government. (Source: PerthNow)


Anthony Fels committed exactly the same crime as McGrath, but with the aid of Noel Crichton-Brown not Burke, and was stripped of his responsibilities. On ABC Fels says Buswell was gunning for him at the time, he should be gunning for McGrath now. 

Fels and McGrath were newbies in Parliament when they agreed to act as lobbyists’ mouthpieces, pretending the words and thoughts were all their own. The question is this: Are more experienced pollies telling Burke, Grill and NCB to piss off because they know better, or are they just better at putting things in their own words and covering their tracks?


Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Now that’s just a blog-o-lies

Posted by occidentprone on May 15, 2008

The blogosphere has intruded rudely on to Troy Buswell’s reality.  Blognik Matt Hayden posted a joke in January that Busty Buswell had once played quokka soccer.  

Then joke blog post became blog post became rumour became a fact in the making and before you could say PETA activist, reporters were mentioning the Q-word and intimating there had been something rotten in the state of Rotto.

So Hayden had to publish a retraction and Buswell put the rumour to rest.

We’re no experts but the question is this: If there is a clause within defamation laws to excuse clear satire, why is the onus on the blogger to clear it up if reporters can’t tell their ludicrous internet japes from plausible stories?

Ok, given that Buswell’s past carrying on has more ridiculous episodes than a Carry On film he does make it tricky, but still bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible for gullible journos.


Posted in Media, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Buswell hangs on by the seat of his pants

Posted by occidentprone on May 5, 2008

Troy Buswell survives as leader of the opposition, as our alternative premier. 

Liberal MPs met today to vote on a spill motion to get rid of Buswell as leader. The spill fell, Buswell won and we have learned that the following is acceptable – nay rewardable – behaviour:

Chair sniffing: This is officially A-OK, even if the context is misogynistic, juvenile, demeaning and humiliating. Hell, you might even be rewarded.

Bra pinging: It’s the 21st century and the Liberal Party is not afraid to show off its sensitive side.  What better way than a little battery-by-underwear, particularly if the target is a woman and an employee.

For how long Buswell remains top dog is another question, as reported in The Australian

At a press conference this evening, Mr Buswell said he did not believe he would have to deal with further incidents as serious as the chair-sniffing scandal, for which he came under intense pressure to quit. 

But Mr Buswell said if there were other incidents in which he had offended people, “no doubt those matters will be brought to light”.

Mr Buswell, appearing drawn and stressed, said he had no idea how many MPs had supported his leadership in today’s vote on the spill motion.

Troy Buswell is the man many will choose to lead WA at the next election. As premier he would be the figurehead of the state as it does big big big business with Japan and China if the resources boom rolls on. Talk about losing face – take a bow, Libs.


Posted in Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »