Yet another grand conspiracy, just a fortnight ago it was the firebrand from Ipswich who seemed to fail to recognise a political party is more than a cult of personality. This time its Outdoor Recreation Party4WD-greenie-anti-grennie-friend of the worker-master of the mystical herb-reconciliation grand poobah-gun-tooting-fish-shooting Malcolm Jones who could be about to face the docks.
In a wonderful theatrical performance Jones succeeded in making an even bigger tool of himself by attempting to obfuscate the unobfuscatible.
Some highlights of his bizarre two-hour MLC speech include
“JONES: ICAC’s use of public hearings raises two significant issues in the context of this report. First, the use of public hearings as an investigative tool can potentially cause irrefutable damage to the reputation of the individual that is investigated through the process of allegations on the public record in sensationalist media reporting of those allegations.”
Poor Malcolm, the idea that the wheels of justice should be on the public record is just a load of elitist nonsense, we can’t have orninary people discover what a dodgy bit of work he is. If Jones had nothing to hide, the public investigation would not have been reported.
“JONES: It gets better. Honourable members will not believe what happens now. I presented a very strong argument as to why my premises at Paynes Crossing was the premises that I was going to live at. The report could have quoted from my arguments as to what I believed was my principal and/or primary place of residence. However, I can tell honourable members that Halsbury’s Law of England and Halsbury’s Law of Australia, the foremost legal bibles for lawyers on the law as it is applied in our system says. I apologise, Madam President and honourable members, but the transcript does not contain Halsbury’s quote. I hope to come back to that.”
Oops, looks like Malc only picked up this Legal text on the way to Macquarie Street.
He then recounts from ICAC transcripts. You know the poor duffer got confused about his travel allowance, the idea of a ‘principal place of residence’ is just too darn ambiguous.
“Q. You’ve told me, sir – please stop – that the word “principal” ordinarily means primary, haven’t you?
A. Yes, sir.”
“Q. Can you suggest any credible reason, apart from the ones that I’ve advanced to you, why, on 4 December 2002, you took it upon yourself to lodge another application form with the updated address of Lot 10, Great North Road, Paynes Crossing? You told us that it was because there was a query from the council. That can’t be right because that didn’t come until the day after?
A. Maybe I got the date wrong. I don’t know.
Malcolm Jones: It is recommended in the report that I should be put on trial for perjury, because of the debate between Mr Rushton and myself on what does “principal place of residence” mean. Let me read from the report. In a debate as to what was my principal and primary place of residence, whether it was country or Sydney, on page 55 of the transcript he says:
Q. In relation to the second paragraph you recognised did you not that the only basis upon which a member could have any entitlement to the Sydney allowance was if his principal place of residence was one of the areas listed?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Do you accept the proposition that Paynes Crossing address cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called and described as your primary place of residence?
A. No, it couldn’t be called my primary place of residence.
This is when the speech gets even more absurd as Jones attempts to claim that a shed on a friend’s property in the Hunter was his principle place of residence. He challenges the ICAC definition of ‘principle place of residence’ by pointing to a case in which Errol Flynn claimed a Jamaican holiday house as his principal residence. I could explain, but Jones version of the case is far more amusing.
“JONES: In re Evans Justice Wynn-Parry said that in order to establish the abandonment of a domicile of choice, “it is essential to demonstrate that abandonment by unequivocal intention and act”. The case of Flynn v Flynn was about Errol Flynn, the actor, on his demise, and the judge in that case said about Flynn that as a sexual athlete “Errol may in truth have attained Olympic standard“. But what is significant is that the case sets out as a principle of law what is a domicile or, as it is now called, principal place of residence.
Mr Oliver has pointed to a number of passages in the evidence which indicate that Errol regarded his estate there as an investment, a holiday home and a place for his ultimate retirement. He is referring to an estate in Jamaica. The question is whether that is what happened here. Mr Oliver has very properly emphasised the limited periods of time which Errol actually spent in Jamaica. In the last two years of his life he was there for some 10 weeks in the late summer and early autumn of 1958 and again for a month in the summer of 1959.”
Then Jones attempts to justify the spending $17,000 on stationery relating to the incorporation of front parties, which include
The Reconciliation Party The Environment Party
The Four Wheel Drive Party The Workers Party
The Anglers Party The Stop the Greenies Party
The Marijuana Freedom Party The Country Party
The Free Education Party The Gun Owners Rights Party
The Horse Riders Party
“JONES: I may have claimed expenses from the Logistic Support Allowance that could possibly be funds I was not entitled to expend. As there was much uncertainty as to the claims I made upon the Logistic Support Allowance and to be certain there was no impropriety, I refunded the sum of $17,336 forthwith—an amount that I still believe was spent as a consequence of my role and function as a member of this honourable House. Yet the ICAC report made a mere passing reference that I had repaid these moneys, which actually demonstrated my goodwill in as much as I had not been fraudulent or, it seems, acted incorrectly.”
Gee, I go through $17,000 worth of stationary every second day. What was he doing, trying to provide a copy of ‘War and Peace’ to all his constituents?
“JONES: When I was preparing this explanation I had to refer to the transcripts which were provided on the Net by the ICAC. However, when trying to find some extracts of evidence, it was not exactly as I remember it being given, particularly some of the mocking cross-examination.”
How could they mock the pure-as-the-driven snow Malcolm. Political opportunist, no, martyr for the cause of front parties. Malcolm just cannot understand why the smaller parties who represent specific niche concerns would be calling for his head. Jones has already stated that in the contingency of an expulsion motion, he will attempt to pre-select himself.
JONES: Should my political opponents be successful, and I am expelled from this House, a casual vacancy will be created for a member of the Outdoor Recreation Party. Assuming I am not found guilty of a serious crime, I will apply for preselection by my party to fill that vacancy. Crick in 1890 and Price in 1917 did exactly this. I would expect to be preselected should such circumstances arise, because under my representation the Outdoor Recreation Party has made substantial progress, as well as my contribution to the House.
However, if he does this, he may just find he faces a repetition of expulsion motions. “We’ll just keep expelling him,” said one MP last night.
Which has me thinking, maybe I should start my own array of front parties, it could well earn an 8 year stretch on the cross-benches. Anyone got some good ideas for some front parties? Here’s a couple that should cover a pretty broad spectrum of voters
THE STEPHEN HILL PARTY
THE ANTI-STEPHEN HILL PARTY (see Dostoyevesky was right, you should love your enemy)
THE HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS PARTY (I know, I’m moving in on Reverend Nile’s turf here)
THE I’D VOTE INFORMAL BUT THIS PARTY HAS AN AMUSING TITLE
THE DATSUN 180i PARTY
THE ZERO TAXATION PARTY
THE DEATH AND TAXES PARTY
THE ANTI-ELITIST PARTY
THE ELITIST PARTY
THE PUT THE TOILETSEET LID DOWN PARTY
THE “PUT A LID ON THAT SON” PARTY (This could be renamed the FATHER KNOWS BEST PARTY)
THE BAN ALL CINEMA PARTY (this may be one way to got those Rev. Nile voters)
THE FREE BEER PARTY (this is particularly popular in student union elections)
If Jones is forced to face charges under the Crimes Act; I hope they throw the book at him, and hopefully its one of those thick legal-textbooks.