It’s all a bit tragic – not least in the timing. On a slow news weekend – when the next biggest story seems to be that Bob Brown has invited Mark Latham to tour the old growth Tassie forest – Senator Andrew Bartlett’s fall from grace has exploded all over the season of ho, ho, ho and horrific hangovers.
The details are a bit unclear but Bartlett is alleged to have “gatecrashed” the Libs Senate Xmas barbie last Thursday night and made off with 5 bottles of fine, Australian wine. Dogged government staffers allegedly tracked him down to his office and recovered 4 of the bottles. The remaining bottle was already open: breathing perhaps. The thought occurs that had Senator Amanda Vanstone been dispatched to liberate the wine, Senator Bartlett may not have been breathing at this moment and would be about to receive a plaudit-filled state funeral instead of a career-wrecking drubbing. Opportunities lost, etc.
Instead, the hand of fate moved such that a tired and emotional Bartlett was shortly afterwards observed confronting Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris during a division, abusing and manhandling her over the earlier barbie larceny.
Bartlett clearly seems to have a problem – he’s announced he’s getting help for “personal health issues” – but it won’t save him in terms of the Dems leadership.
“There but for the grace of” has probably occurred to more than a few parliamentarians, and the fact that the Senate was sitting concurrent with all this bizzo might also give pause for thought. I’ve been a not unenthusiastic party boy myself but I learned long ago that the workplace is fraught with danger as a party venue, more so if the festivities coincide with working hours.
Perhaps Bartlett’s fall is remarkable chiefly in it’s surprising singularity, in a culture where he’s anything but alone. .