Just when one thinks that things seriously can not get any worse, they get worse for NSW Labor. NSW Assistant Health Minister Tony Stewart has jeopardised his position and indeed further jeopardised the Rees Government by managing to somehow involve himself in a scandal at a recent Garvan Institute dinner. Stewart has been accused of verbally and physically abusing one of his staffers at the dinner, with the result that the staffer in question was moved to another office, and a formal complaint regarding Stewart’s behaviour was raised to Rees today. Stewart has been removed from the ministry pending an investigation into the matter.
Regardless of whether Tony Stewart is really to blame for all of this or not, the fact that this whole issue has erupted is a further unfortunate indictment of the NSW Labor Government. When members of the government and their staffers can’t find a way to get along during their day-to-day business without causing a needless scandal for their government, you have to wonder if anything is actually being accomplished for the people of New South Wales. In political terms, the Garvan Institute dinner that Tony Stewart attended was a free hit for him and his staff, and a free hit for the Rees Government. How it has resulted in this latest bad news story quite simply beggars belief.
When friends, family and colleagues talk to me in the lead-up to the next state election, soliciting honest advice from me on why I think they should vote for NSW Labor, I am really sad to say that on the government’s recent form, I don’t think I will be in the position to be in the slightest bit persuasive.