Labor upper house MP and former billionaire Evan Thornley has been very enthusiastically pursuing any potential vacancy that might arise from The Age newspaper’s dubious claims against senior cabinet minister Theo Theophanous. It appears he was so distracted in that pursuit yesterday that he embarrassingly missed a division or vote in the Legislative Council.
In the world of Parliament, especially the upper house where the numbers are so tight, this is considered to be a particularly embarrassing blunder. And highly unfortunate timing for Thornley who has reportedly been particularly excited that a possible Theo departure could mean his ship had finally come in.
Thornley’s no-show was considered all the more embarrassing because the government had gone to some trouble to negotiate with Greg Barber’s Greens party to ensure they abstained from supporting a motion put forward by the DLP’s Peter Kavanagh. The motion got up, purely because Thornley was a no-show. D’oh.
In a government where the most damning condemnation is “he’s not a team player”, it was an error that left even foes cringing in embarrassment on his behalf.
THINGS GO CRAZY OUTSIDE LATTE CURTAIN
In his defence, the Parliament is sitting in the country this week, so Thornley was many kilometres outside his inner-city comfort zone. And of course, he was more than a little excitable about getting the promotion he has craved.
The hyper-ambitious MP had been working the phones in a desperate attempt to position himself for promotion within his new-found Labor Unity faction, close observers attest. Nothing wrong with being ambitious, they say, but there’s a certain way of dealing with these things that Thornley appears not really able to comprehend. Not yet anyway.
By contrast the NUW’s Martin Pakula is very comfortable in his own skin, hopeful one day of promotion but like many in the Labor caucus – except the hateful Peter Batchelor (who looks more like the Emperor from Star Wars each day) – rather more hopeful that one of their own isn’t felled by a despicable process of character assassination and presumed guilt. If it could happen to one of them, it could happen to any of them.
WE REVEAL DEMONIC CULT RAPE GOAT SLAUGHTER PARLIAMENT DOME CLAIMS
Perhaps the VEXNEWS Investigative Unit will trawl through mental hospitals to find a woman willing to swear on oath that Minister Batchelor and his pugnacious offsider Paul Erickson raped her under the moonlit Parliament House dome while Paul was in charge of ritually slaughtering a goat in a bizarre demonic cult-ritual designed to influence future Thomastown preselections in favour of North Fitzroy dwelling candidates. Now that would be a story, however invented . It might teach some the most important lesson of all of this despicable saga, there but for the grace of God go I. Anyone, anytime can be accused of sexual abuse allegations and our most sacred obligation in that case is to the truth not to indulging accusers
Back to the ambition faction though, Pakula, Matt Viney, Adem Somyurek and – to be fair – Thornley are considered to be the most likely in the Victorian upper house to be promoted on merit grounds. All four are smart in different ways and Pakula in particular impresses many in the chamber.
Yet it’s far from clear there’ll even be a vacancy at all, with increasingly sceptical political observers taking a second look at the spectacular and dated claims against Theophanous and expressing doubt they could ever be properly considered in a court of law, unless an unknown and so far undeclared smoking gun exists somewhere. And that seems even less likely than Evan Thornley being elected “Mr Congeniality” at the next caucus retreat.