Two out of three ain’t bad

In a minor piece of good news for the government, the ABC reports Brisbane MPs Gary Hardgrave and Ross Vasta, members for Moreton (2.8 per cent) and Bonner (0.5 per cent), have respectively been cleared over a “ghost” staff member and the “Printgate” affair. However, the member believed to have been in the most trouble, Bowman (8.9 per cent) MP Andrew Laming, is apparently still under investigation.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

26 comments on “Two out of three ain’t bad”

  1. Cleared? Hardly!! The ‘advice’ from the DPP to the AFP (where have I heard that combination before?) is that there would be insufficient evidence to enable a conviction, so charges should not proceed. My understanding is that, if they weren’t politicians then charges would surely have been laid.

    Andrew (“good evening, I’m John Howard and I know Andrew Laming”) Laming is still well and trooly rooted.

  2. I’m inclinded to agree with call the election please, they are presumed to be innocent and we now know the DPP doesn’t think it can get a conviction so the presumption stands. It is merely a presumption, but is all that stands between all of us and people calling us nasty names.

  3. Vasta and Hardgraves are gone, they won’t hold on to their seats.
    And Bowman is fast becoming a probable Labor gain also, if you check out the Portland bet odds.

  4. Laming is under investigation not for ‘printgate’ cause he got off that one a few weeks ago after he corrected his ‘administrative error’ then ironically got most it handed back to him.

    He is under investigation for ‘staff ghosting’ at his Brisvegas office now and that will hang him I am told by local sources. Chalk up another B seat for Labor at the election.

  5. I remember after the last election everyone was going on about these wonderful new Liberal MPs with their brilliant CVs that Howard had recruited, compared with the boring old union hacks that Labor keeps serving up. The two they pointed out as the most brilliant were Jensen and Laming, who do indeed have impressive CVs. But as we can now see, they are both political dunces. Jensen couldn’t even get himself re-preselected and had to be rescued by the state executive, and he has driven the “flat earth” climate denialist faction that has done the government a lot of harm. And Laming is obviously a total incompetent, as well as the conceited ass my Canberra spies tell me he is. At least Labor’s boring old union hacks understand how to manage their office entitlements so as not to get caught out rorting.

  6. When I look at Laming’s CV – I don’t doubt it is real, but I ask myself WHY?

    It looks like he had a political career in mind.

    Why would you be a member of the College of Ophthamologists (eyes) but have a diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology?

    And why would you also do economics and traffic engineering and all this other stuff by the time you are 40? And work in Aboriginal Australia and Afghanistan and East Timor? This isn’t a ‘career’ – this is an exhibition.

    It looks like the classic confected Young Liberal CV – all the boxes ticked. Probably claims the Afghanistan work as “war service” too!

  7. Agree with Call & Jas, Craven

    You know nothing about the innocence or otherwise of these men. If you did you should have been there testifying at the inquiry. We must trust that justice has been done.

    Seeing Madeleine McCann’s parents on TV on the same day as this finding did make me recall Lindy Chamberlain, those years ago, or Schapelle Corby, more recently. How the media and the public (through this filtered dissemination) ever feel that they can judge the guilt or innocence of any party in a trial is beyond me.

    How this finding will affect their chances is anyone’s guess, but I am inclined to think that this would be down on the list of voter priorities (they think ALL pollies are corrupt anyway).

  8. There can be no ‘trust that justice has been done’ under this government, and you presume too much when you say I know nothing about the innocence or otherwise of these men.

    Still, the point made about presumed innocence and the rule of law is taken on board by me.

    Please point this out in future to right wing yobbos mouthing off in blogs about Carmen Lawrence, eh?

  9. Riccardo @11
    Diploma in O&G is a 6 month resident course, often taken before you decide which specialty to do. Ophthalmology is, after dermatology, the the most closed(?) shop in medicine and also the best paid. He is obviously a smart boy but having Dip O&G and FRACO is not particularly incongruous. The College of Ophthalmology sends 3 week ‘missions’ to the world’s trouble spots, so the work in E Timor etc is not all that spectacular even if it looks good on the CV.

    However, I don’t understand the coomics and traffic engineering interests.

  10. Riccardo,
    Actually having a closer look at the CV, I am sure you are right. The guy has never really settled down to a career. After the election I think he should find a good woman, settle down and starting taking out the cataracts that his largely public education has trained him to do.

  11. Heard Hargrave on the radio, he went very close to libel, if not actual, saying that the investigation was politically biased as the lead investigator was the estranged wife of a Qld labor figure.

    All he has done is invite a potential legal action, kept the issue alive and insinuate that anyone related in any way to politics cannot conduct a fair and open investigation.

  12. Hardgrave was never politically savvy was he ? He would do Laming, himself and the other MP if he just accepted to umpires {DPP} ruling and move on quitely.

    All he is doing now is giving a dog whistle to QLD voters who would otherwise have forgotten about it and moved on a reason to think on it some more…not particularly smart.

    Voters won’t be impressed with sour grapes.

    Last time I looked it wasn’t the AFP or DPP that introduced WorkChoices or broke a promise on home loan interest rates or denied global warming existed, then did a complete backflip on pre APEC or failed to have the courage to challenge for the leadership or told struggling families they have never been better off or told 280,000 one parent family heads to ‘get a job’ or….

    Hardgrave deserves to lose his seat for that effort alone- Im sure Howard needs more fires to put out, not .

  13. Laming mentioned his specialty in the RU486 debate.
    He said that while doing his OBGYN Diploma he was scarred by having to perform abortions, that’s why he changed specialties.

    Hargrave simply quoted himself in parliament – it’s not libel if you’re quoting hansard.

    Hargrave’s right though – you have to question an organisation that conducts a 6 month long investigation, invites media attention (which they know will be damaging to the career prospects of those concerned), then can’t come up with anything. Really, an internal investigation is the least that the AFP should undertake.

  14. Scarred by having to do abortions? He didn’t know he had to do them in the Obs/Gynae course? Laughable, and definitely not “road to Damascus” stuff – more like it gave him another “talking point” with the Liberal extreme Right

  15. Adam, it was an English diploma. I understand that, for many years, it has been a requirement for employment in the OBs/Gyn sections of the NHS to be willing to be involved in abortions.

  16. Too pessimistic Riccardo and Adam. Oakeshott country has explained it well.

    Also, it’s a little tricky to try and shift the thread away from the failures of the AFP and onto the CV of an MP.

    BTW, Laming’s CV was the subject of a Crikey article in Feb 2006. Jane Nethercote, the Crikey journo researched his resume and found it to be true.

    Basically, the big question here is – How did this investigation come about? Who created the investigation? Who led it? Who provided information? What was their motive?

    If any of the answers to these questions are ALP Members or others with insentive to hurt any of the three MPs then the AFP really has some serious probity questions to answer.

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