It’s soft-core smear, but smear all the same

If we needed any more proof that NSW Labor has struggled to take a trick over the past couple of years, the amazingly short tenure of Matt Brown as NSW Police Minister has provided it. Freshly minted Premier Nathan Rees had more than enough on his plate already (indeed – probably enough for a few lifetimes), and the last thing he needed was the silly and needless scandal that has erupted over the last few days.

Politics is a tough business, and I don’t think anybody reasonable would begrudge Matt Brown or any politician from letting off some steam from time to time. Unfortunately, we live in a political age when the media and political operatives (in this case, Imre Salusinszky from The Australian) across the country are remorselessly on the hunt for “news” that can be construed in any way as controversial. Brown should have been aware of this, and should have put his noggin to good use instead of acting the way that he allegedly did during his post-Budget party.

Rees, of course, made the right decision in presumably forcing Brown to resign from his post. One wonders whether the Premier should demand an even more stringent level of disclosure, given the abysmal track record NSW Labor has had with regards to resignations and embarrassing incidents over the past decade in power. Perhaps the new Premier should force any member of parliament who is implicated in a scandal that breaks before he hears about it to resign not only from any ministerial duties but from parliament altogether, forcing a by-election.

In New South Wales in particular, the Labor Party desperately needs a public image overhaul. It can simply not afford to endure any further absurd scandals of this nature; it’s time for the Premier to lay down the law to his colleagues.