Why John Della Bosca was locked out: the sad truth
No-one has yet give a credible explanation to why disgraced NSW ex-health minister John Della Bosca was locked out of his office after his affair with a much younger woman was exposed.
His door was locked, an armed guard was positioned outside and all his staff were sacked.
It was an overtly over-the-top response from premier Nathan Rees for something many sympathetic journalists said merely reflected what many in the community get up to behind closed doors.
Della Bosca was reportedly furious and complained to ALP head office for the treatment meted out to him, which was more deserving of a convicted criminal, not a confirmed pants man.
After all, when you think about it, where were the armed guards for the myriad of other disgraced NSW political figures?
I can’t remember the same treatment for ex-police minister Matt Brown, who was sacked after cavorting near naked with a staff member in front of her mother.
For others, like factional powerbroker Eddie Obeid, who was found to have breached his pecuniary interests over 100 times in 2003, (a hanging offence according to the Federal ALP) a guard of honour was more likely to have been employed. Obeid was promoted to the ministry.
No-one inside the ALP turned a hair at the flagrant abuses of the parliament, let alone stationed a guard outside his office.
You’d be forgiven for believing that there may have been guards outside Joe Tripodi’s office, but they would almost certainly have been put there by Tripodi for protection from the public.
The reality was that Della Bosca’s wrongdoing was far worse than any breach of pecuniary interests, or near naked drunken dancing or any of the legion of misdemeanours that continue to beset the ALP.
Della Bosca’s unforgivable political crime was to have confirmed the absolute worst about everything the public hate about the NSW government and the Labor Party.
He provided a visual and symbolic snapshot to a community sick and tired of the ongoing indifference of their government to the public, which it is employed to serve.
Remember how the ALP attempted to distance itself from Morris Iemma when he left office after the Rees coup?
Everyone talked up how in touch Rees, the unknown former garbage man from the Western suburbs, was.
Members of the ALP and their partners and kids walked down Macquarie Street in a stage managed photo opportunity to attempt to visually demonstrate that there was a whole new government descending on the parliament.
Armed with advice from its pollster and Hawker Britton, Nathan Rees wanted to distance himself from shenanigans associated with all the people he put straight back on the front bench.
He wanted to appear to be freshening up, putting in place a whole new team, preparing to get on with the job of fixing NSW’s ailing infrastructure and the everyday problems which continue to plague the people of NSW
Della Bosca has shone the spotlight straight back on the fact that it’s the same, old tired and out-of-touch ALP, members of which cavort naked, supply drugs to underage boys (Milton Orkopolous) or treat the parliament and public with contempt.
In the tabloid scandal sheet coverage of this story, which hared off across the landscape to find the Della’s mystery woman and to see how it’s all playing out in the deep freezer at his wife’s home, one hugely significant piece of information was essentially lost.
But this would not have been lost on Nathan Rees, or the operatives who have for years managed to spin their way out of trouble.
Far more concerning for them would have been the fact that according to Della Bosca’s 26-year-old lover, the then minister was not just having an affair, he was skipping appointments within his portfolio to do so.
The girlfriend said that Della Bosca missed a ministerial trip to Armidale in northern New South Wales so he could be with her – a far more serious political charge against a politician than that of cheating on his wife.
He was selling the public short while gratifying his own desires and in so doing structurally weakening the campaign of an incumbent government.
How can Rees go to a poll with the slogan: getting on with the job, when Della proves he isn’t, at least not in the way the community expect.
Rees needed to show the public that he was going to go over the top with Della Bosca – and not just because he was a rival for his job.
So out with Della and in with the armed guard, another piece of futile spin designed to show that really, truly the NSW government cares about the voters.
Polls will soon provide an insight as to whether any of this is believable. I suspect it will not be. After years and years of saying one thing and doing another, no-one is listening and no-one believes them.
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