Friday, September 5, 2008

Chair-sniffing minister could get another chance

"The chair sniffer will be a player on all the big reforms - education, health, water," a Labor insider said.

The ALP is bracing for a big swing against the Carpenter Government at tomorrow's poll. Liberals claim a swing against the Government of up to 5 per cent.

A uniform swing of around 4 per cent against the ALP would see Mr Carpenter turfed out of office.

Mr Buswell was forced to resign in August after allegations of sexist behaviour, including sniffing the chair of a Liberal staffer and unsnapping the bra of an ALP adviser.

Mr Barnett told The Daily Telegraph it was a "fair bet" that his economics spokesman would be state treasurer, praising him for topping his economics class at university.

Premier Alan Carpenter, whose abrasive style is blamed for a voter backlash, believes Mr Buswell has turned WA into an international laughing stock.

"Wherever I went (after the incident was made public) - to COAG meetings, or speaking with business people in Sydney, everyone stopped asking me about Brian Burke," Mr Carpenter said.

"They started asking me about the chair sniffing incident - and could it possibly be true? It hasn't done us any good."

Mr Carpenter believes the international focus on Mr Buswell helped reinforce an image of WA as a wild frontier state where anything goes.

"It casts a pall over all of us," he said.

Mr Barnett praised the man who could guide the finances of Australia's boom state as a "top economics graduate".

THE Liberal MP whose chair-sniffing antics made world headlines could soon play a key role negotiating national reforms with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state premiers.

Disgraced former Liberal leader Troy Buswell is almost certain to be appointed West Australian treasurer if Labor loses tomorrow's state election. He and party leader Colin Barnett would attend a Council of Australian Governments meeting in Perth on October 2.


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