Friday, November 15, 2002

It's All Kirner's Fault, Got It?

Friday, 15 November 2002

When I first read the ABC On-Line News report of Victorian shadow Premier Robert Doyle's sacking of his shadow treasurer Robert Dean yesterday, I was immediately tempted by the humorous opportunities presented by a senior Liberal politician who forgets to enrol to vote in his own electorate and so cannot stand for election but Robert Corr got there first - the bastard!

Ewin Hannan's report in today's Age makes it clear that this is not quite the simple story of a politician brought undone by a small but all-too-human "oversight" or party mismanagement as Victorian treasurer John Brumby suggested. Hannan provides a possible explanation for Dr Dean's "oversight":

Former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett said yesterday Dr Dean had deliberately sought to deceive Gembrook voters by claiming to live in the electorate. In fact, Mr Kennett said, Dr Dean had lived in Hawthorn for a decade.

"Robert Dean has lived in Hawthorn for 10 years. The question is, did he ever move out to Gembrook and what proof is there that he did," he said on his 3AK radio program.

The answer apparently is none - with one long-time local resident saying that he had never seen Dr Dean in the street where his rented pied-a-terre was located. Of course we shouldn't read too much into this - the life of a politician can be a demanding one and it is quite possible that despite every good intention, Dr Dean was simply unable to find time out from his busy round of political engagements to introduce himself to his new neighbours. Or it may be that outside public life, Dr Dean is someone who prefers to keep himself to himself, content with "the quiet enjoyment of the property" prescribed as the proper behaviour of tenants in most standard rental agreements.

Very sensibly, both shadow Premier Robert Doyle and Dr Dean are refusing to allow this farce minor setback to distract them from the main game, which to Mr Doyle is his "campaign to hold Labor accountable on November 30" and to Dr Dean is to protect Victoria from the awful fate of a repeat of the Cain-Kirner years.

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