Who wants a hot date with a State Treasurer?
If you missed yesterday’s excellent interview with South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley on Adelaidenow here’s the potted version – he doesn’t want the top job, he just wants a girl.
For the uninitiated, Foley is the man who last year went public about the collapse of his marriage, his subsequent failed relationships with a raft of women, his battle with depression, his late-night ruminations about whether his political career has been worth the sacrifice. Late last year to his eternal credit he was filmed at an Adelaide karaoke venue singing the above rendition of The Gambler.
The serious takeout from the Foley interview was that he appears to have put his leadership aspirations on hold and will serve as a loyal deputy until such time as Mike Rann goes of his own volition. Not that he was being that presumptuous – he admitted to being really worried about whether Labor would get home tomorrow at all.
“I hope I wake up Sunday remaining Treasurer of the State,” he told Kelly Nestor. “There’s a very real chance I won’t.”
Mr Foley also conceded that he was perceived as arrogant, but that people misinterpreted his self-confidence and his pride in the state as arrogance.
He was also candid about his reputation for being, well, a bit of yob.
“Arrogance is poison in politics and I wish at times that I did not portray myself as an arrogant person,” he said.
“I know that people don’t want to see me as a boofhead in Parliament… maybe I need to change that.”
In political terms Foley was the picture of discipline and restraint throughout the interview. The man who came close to challenging Mike Rann for the leadership this term (he described it as a “silly moment”) now says he is genuinely happy to remain Treasurer next term and won’t be angling for anything more.
But whether you regard him as a competent economic manager or not, you have to give him credit for one thing. He’s the only Treasurer in the history of Australia who has turned the job into a lonely hearts advertisement.
As was the case with his public unravelling last year, Mr Foley used the interview to expand on his own personal troubles, confirming that he was still looking for a companion.
Quite obviously his marital status will have and should have no bearing on Saturday’s result. Sure, there’s a risk that some voters might sense that it could distract him from running the economy. But it’s a risk that Kevin Foley is still prepared to take, as he was just as garrulous today in documenting his lovelorn status as he was a few months ago
Showing trademark immodesty by talking about himself in the second person, Foley often sounded less like a man who wants to hold office, than a man who just wants to be held.
Asked which three things he would like in his Christmas stocking, he said a new jet ski, health and happiness for his beloved kids, and the hope “that somebody out there might think that Kevin Foley isn’t a bad bloke.”
The one thing he did clarify on the relationship front is that he doesn’t have the hots for the Premier. After declaring his love for Mike Rann he checked himself. “There’s a headline for you…” he told Kelly Nestor. “There’s a limit to how touchy-feely we can be.” We can all breathe a sigh of relief over that.
For the record, a quick snap poll of Adelaidenow readers as to whether they were prepared to go on a date with Mr Foley delivered the following findings – 64 per cent said not in a million years, 20 per cent said yes and that he’s a fun guy, and 16 per cent said yes, but only if he brought his new jet ski.
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