Â So much has been said of Evan Thornley’s tawdry departure from the Victorian Parliament and his rejection of a senior ministry that only from his own mouth could he supply further appalling insight into the impoverished spirit of this wealthy man.
His defence of his decision to pursue a very high salary in a very odd start-up Better Place boiled down to this shameful and exploitative formulation reported by the Herald Sun:
The job is believed to be worth about $700,000 a year.
But Mr Thornley told the Herald Sun it was his children’s future that had forced his hand more than any cash incentive.
“I only choose to work on things I believe in,” he said.
“We were talking about it as a family on Christmas Day, and one of my kids said to me, ‘Daddy, this is the coolest company in the whole world’.
“They’ve got a view of their future, and they’ve got an understanding of what we’re doing at Better Place, and they were saying, ‘This is pretty important and pretty unusual’,” he said.
Whether this conversation is real or one of Evan’s notorious inventions, his recounting of it couldn’t be any more low rent if he’d been parked on Monopoly’s Old Kent Road (please pronounce carefully).
Blaming his children or attempting to use them in a political equivalent of human shields is one of the lowest grub acts we have ever witnessed in politics.
It transcends the arguably corrupt nature of his dealings as the concurrent spruiker of Better Place with a number of parliamentary colleagues and his then role as the Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation.
The company was clearly part of Thornley’s portfolio responsibilities. His assertion that he only knew of the company’s demands for money and other benefits from the Victorian Government after they happened doesn’t square with the recollections of his colleagues who say Thornley was talking about electric cars and had largely disengaged from political activities from around August onwards.
The Age reports Thornley’s spin:
“Let’s be clear. What I now understand, which I didn’t even know about then, (was that) these guys had had a whole series of meetings with the Victorian Government prior to me even meeting them â€” with some tens of people over some number of meetings â€” and already had secured the support of the Victorian Government.”
The fruits of those negotiations became clear on October 23, when Premier John Brumby and and Innovation Minister Gavin Jennings announced a working group to “examine the development of fuel-efficient vehicle technology, with a particular focus on the development of the first generation of electric vehicles”.
VEXNEWS understands from Liberal sources that the efficient David Davis has already lobbed in comprehensive FOI probes over Better Place. If Thornley is lying about his involvement working for the Victorian Government while also advising Better Place about “doing business in Australia” then that will erupt into a fully fledged public scandal.
We can only hope Thornley doesn’t also blame that on his kids. Going to a hippy love alternative school in Kew, in a grotesque environmentally sound McMansion around the corner, with mama Tracey setting a drunken and violent example and papa Thornley using them as political human shields to justify his money lust, we think they have probably suffered enough.
UPDATE: Thornley’s departure was reported in the AFR (off-line) with amusing assertions from him about his commitment to ethics. It will be highly amusing to see him try to talk his way out of his shame at the parliamentary inquiry into the Thornley affair. Funnily enough he refused to rule out seeking government largesse to help bankroll his business, an approach to conflict of interests unmatched since the time of the worst excesses of former Queensland Minister Russ Hinze who would order state funded roads built past his properties.