NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca has lost his license after being caught speeding for a seventh time in his government car. The political news media is agog with commentary on the Rudd Government’s inaugural Federal Budget at the moment, and as a result, the media blowtorch has not been applied. It should be.
I suspect that I am not alone in subscribing to the admittedly romantic notion that our politicians should hold themselves to higher standards of behaviour than the people they represent. These people are meant to be our best and brightest, and have our best wishes at heart. They should, by definition, hold the law in deep respect and abide by it to the best of their ability, not just because of their own belief in its sanctity but to serve as an example to the wider community. It is for these reasons that I think Della Bosca, despite probably being one of the more talented ministers in the Iemma Government, should at the very least step down from cabinet and spend some time doing penance on the backbenches. This is obviously not a one-off error. One would have to infer that someone who has been caught speeding on seven separate occasions actually speeds quite a lot. It is clear that Della Bosca does not respect the state’s traffic rules and regulations as much as he should as an elected representative of the people and proxy custodian of law in New South Wales.
There are good political reasons for Della Bosca to resign as well. The Iemma Government desperately needs to turn around what are some fairly deep set public perceptions about its levels of transparency and probity. Of course the government will be further damaged regardless of whether Della Bosca resigns, but by stepping down, the minister could reclaim a certain sense of honour and dignity for himself and for the government. If he remains in his current position, the average punter is going to get the wrong message about speeding and acquire an even more critical view of the Iemma Government that many voters already do. The government really can not afford to keep tossing logs like this one onto the bonfire of what quite possibly could be its electoral demise in 2012.