In a further sensational outcome from the government’s now notorious character attack on the opposition leader, Queensland Liberal Santo Santoro appears to have been sacked from the Howard ministry. Three other Liberal MPs in Queensland remain under police investigation for Printgate.
Update: Yep, it’s official: the Howard government’s minister for ageing, Santo Santoro, has had his throat cut.
Update: Matt Price reports that senator Santoro had failed to disclose other shares. More detail at the ABC (tks Rex), which reports that he had neglected to disclose between 50 and 60 other share holdings over 15 or 16 months! Just a danged bad memory, huh? The senator wouldn’t reveal the value of his trades. So, still no full disclosure? There may be a lot more to come on Santorogate. Did anyone see the precient John Clarke and Brian Dawe last night?
Update: Alan Ramsey’s columns are recommended, unless you’re a die-hard, rusted-on, right-wing LNP tragic. Mr Ramsey has dug deep; yet I must be inflicted with battered-voter syndrome, for I cannot help but imagine the smell of a plotting rodent in this apparent government crisis, somewhere.
Update: Begging for attention, Tim Blair features yours truly in a column in the Daily Telegraph, in a Kevin Rudd-related way. The column is typically small-minded, self-amusing and unfair. If you’re interested, read it for yourself. I only wish to refute the description of me as Mr Rudd’s “ALP mate”. As I occasionally reference my personal knowledge of Kevin, the truth is that I knew him as a colleague on the national steering committee and associated working groups behind the 1990-91 special premiers’ conferences, when I was employed in the WA and NSW cabinet offices under governments of different colours. We’ve bumped into each other now and again since those days. He was, for instance, a contributor to a book I edited on Australia and globalisation published in 2001. I’ve long admired Kevin’s abilities, hope that he’s successful and like to think of him as a friend, but we’ve never been close. I haven’t spoken to him in over five years, and have never spoken to him in an ALP context. Now, can we get back to discussing policy and the apparent decline and fall of the Howard government?
Update: (18 March) Santorogate continues to widen. On top of 72 share trading violations and 14 sub-underwriting violations (it’s still not clear how many shares were purchased from those activities), comes news of nine more undisclosed conflicts, including shares in a company that provides software to aged care homes, in a seniors accommodation firm and a retirement village firm. Following the senator’s sacking, Mr Howard said the former minister’s dealings didn’t include companies that conflicted with his ministerial responsibilities. On Friday, Mr Howard said the senator’s only sin was not to have declared the share dealings either to the Senate or to him. Oops. At what point does this scandal crossover from the ex-minister to the pm directly, as the incompetent or culpable custodian of the cabinet code of conduct? Is that a call for a full and independent inquiry into the Santoro Affair & Related Matters I hear in the distance?