Liberal MP Louise Staley's persistent questioning of Premier Daniel Andrews regarding his fall imperils her re-election, writes Hayden O'Connor.
IN 2014, Louise Staley first won the seat of Ripon by a narrow margin of 601 votes. That margin is significant when compared to the mere 15 vote margin that allowed Staley to retain her seat after countbacks and a legal challenge at the 2018 election.
However, it didn’t appear to concern Staley when she constructed her media release of questions for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. It would also seem that her blatant hypocrisy on cover-ups didn’t concern her either, or perhaps she hoped that voters had simply forgotten about her attempt to win preselection for the Federal seat of Menzies.
Staley’s ridiculous list of questions that she demanded Daniel Andrews answer was little more than the product of a desperate conspiracy theory.
“I asked 12 simple questions, the Government has selectively chosen to answer five of them. My view is they should get on and answer the other seven."
Staley’s wish was partly granted, with Victoria’s Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton telling Virginia Trioli and her listeners on ABC radio:
“What you’ve got is a tragic accident that’s left a person severely injured, who happens to be the premier of the state. That’s not a matter the police would be involved in."
With Ambulance Victoria confirming their "involvement" was standard procedure and Victoria Police unsurprisingly confirming that they don’t interview people who fall down stairs, the remaining questions are surely irrelevant.
If Staley wants to continue with her outstanding questions, she might have a tough time convincing anyone that the answers are in the public interest. After all, what difference does it make to Victorians if the Premier fell down the stairs at 6 am or 6 pm?
It would appear that Staley has come to the same conclusion and has finally ended her ridiculous crusade but the damage to her reputation is done. Perhaps the phrase "there is no such thing as bad publicity" was on Staley’s mind when she concluded that peddling conspiracy theories was a good idea. Perhaps she didn’t consider that demanding answers from a man with a spinal injury could end badly.
This is not a good position for Staley. In a country where many don’t know who the deputy prime minister is, state shadow treasurers are certainly obscure to those who aren’t overly politically engaged. Staley is now well known but for all the wrong reasons.
Infamy doesn’t bode well for those who hold their seats by only 15 votes.
Before her next political stunt, Stalely would be wise to reflect upon her four previously failed pre-selection attempts for the seats of Wannon, Casey, Menzies and then Ripon.
For someone who was evidently determined to enter politics and represent the constituents of seemingly any electorate that would have her, she is certainly playing with fire. If such antics continue, Staley might find herself voted out and seeking preselection for yet another electorate.
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