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WHO’S NEXT? Theo Theophanous increasingly recognised as victim of despicable false smear

sleazepolitics Follow up stories on the scandalous claims in The Age about Victorian senior cabinet minister Theo Theophanous continue to be printed by newspapers today, but government media strategists think “they’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone.”

One adviser, paranoid about the dark presence of Alison “Rottie” Crossweller, told VEXNEWS that “Theo is safe providing he isn’t charged. It’s that simple. Until then, there’s no political value in cutting him loose, it would make Brumby look like he’d panicked in the most unprincipled way. Anyone who knows JB knows he’s not a panicker and is never that worried what yapping Gallery prancing poodles think in the short term.”

“Ferg (John Ferguson of the Herald Sun) made a compelling practical political point today when he wrote about the dangers of setting precedents about sacking ministers purely because of allegations. I’m just one person here but I don’t think we’ll be doing that. Not now, not ever,” they said.


Curiously though, the well regarded News Corp duo Ferguson and Rick Wallace at The Australian seem to have asserted a change in rhetoric about the Minister’s future. Government sources say there is no shift in the view about what can and should be done and that the two were simply desperate to get a story – any story – up. That’s what they’re paid to do, of course.

With the foot flat to the floor in reverse, The Age’s Comrade David Rood, once a PhD candidate in gay whales social theory or some such thing, reported in the fairest and most balanced way possible that Premier spoke for many Victorians in demanding the Police proceed with interviewing the Minister and referring the matter to proper authorities for a decision about whether he’ll be charged.


Rood didn’t detect the imagined shift in the Premier’s rhetoric. Rightly so, there’s no change of any significance. As in so many things, John Brumby is not for turning. He has taken a highly principled stance in dealing with the issue and ensuring that none of his team can be taken down randomly by the sole, untested claim of a psychiatrically disturbed woman with an axe to grind.


Ferguson in an excellent oped on the issue spoke for many Victorians when clearly condemning The Age’s reporting on this Greek tragedy:

It was a scoop, but the ethics of trashing a minister’s reputation via an unknown source before the MP has even been interviewed by police are dubious.

That development has had the perverse effect among some Labor figures of turning the minister into a victim.

Which, under the circumstances, is some achievement.

Indeed it is. The Age’s unique capacity for own goals is perhaps only rivalled by a few bent cops in the orbit of The Age’s multi-millionaire crime reporter John Silvester. Ferguson lines them up too:

Dumping Theophanous altogether would create an awkward precedent given that political figures are constantly accused of wrongdoing.

There is no doubt that, so far, Theophanous has been treated unfairly, in the manner police have leaked details of the case and the way the woman’s story was told.

Less than a week after the Office of Police Integrity rang alarm bells about bent police shopping around secrets, police moved this week against a member of State Cabinet with impressive speed.

Some details leaked to rival media were wide of the mark, casting questions about the standard of the investigation and the motive for information being shopped around.

It is likely Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon will be watching closely. Don’t be surprised if these issues aren’t of interest to the OPI.

These leaks must be investigated, as should the bizarre eighteen month delay in the Police investigation. It’s simply not good enough to leave these highly damaging allegations, in their completely uncorroborated form, hanging over any public figure for nearly two years. This can never be allowed to happen again.

That’s why Theo Theophanous will not be – cannot be – removed from the Ministry until this matter is resolved. It’s not just a question of setting dangerous political precedents in the event of untested allegations, it’s a question of common decency.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. I’ll tell you who’s next: Craig Langdon. The Herald Sun should investigate STAY Youth Services in the early 90′s. That’s all I’ll say.

    Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2008, 10:14
  2. Anon: Tell us more?

    Posted by Herald-Sun Investigations Unit | October 17, 2008, 10:26
  3. After we broke the story of how Langdon rented out his taxpayer funded electorate office and pocketed the cash we’re dying to do a follow-up on his sordid past.

    Posted by Herald-Sun Investigations Unit | October 17, 2008, 11:22
  4. Theophanous: dead man walking.

    Posted by Nostradamus | October 17, 2008, 11:28
  5. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that.

    Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2008, 11:35
  6. LM 001 on the Doyle limo.

    Posted by wolf in possum's clothing | October 17, 2008, 11:37
  7. By getting in early the Age can either say we were right if the allegations are proven to have substance. If they are wong they can try and hide behind the defence information that latter came to light indicted otherwise. The Age careless and unprofessional is their motto

    Posted by Resourceful | October 17, 2008, 14:15
  8. Self abuse isn’t as much fun. But it beats being beheaded in public for the R word!

    Posted by It crawled into my hand, honest | October 17, 2008, 14:17
  9. “We want to again inform the media that it’s inappropriate for anyone to make any public comments about this case as it would amount to interfering with a police investigation”.

    (Theophanous family)

    Posted by Thanks, but no thanks | October 17, 2008, 14:42
  10. Great article Andrew.

    Vexnews is to be congratulated.

    I met two people in Northcote today who praised Theo. Said what a great MP he was and how he’d helped many of his contstituents. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him.

    The Age and the other blog should stop dishing dirt on Theo. He’s probably the most able member of the Brumby Cabinet.

    Posted by Jack Jones | October 17, 2008, 17:29
  11. Re Wolf in possum’s clothing,
    Yes I want the Job as the Limo Driver.
    Massive overtime and the free food and wine,How do I apply now?
    He is a Cert
    Gold Chain Watcher

    Posted by Gold chain watcher | October 17, 2008, 17:34
  12. Harry Theophanous looked like a bunny in the headlights on the news tonight.

    Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2008, 18:16
  13. Hey babe, would you like to see my legislative motions and acts I have passed. All you need is to have an erlection and the numbers to force it through the lower and upper house and bob ‘the president’ is your uncle. We really know how to screw constituents in this place

    Posted by Legislator | October 17, 2008, 18:43
  14. Ask about the cleaner who caught Theo at it in his office and got the sack!

    Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2008, 21:45
  15. I know about STAY Youth Services in the early 90’s. Craig Langdon as nanager/chair of a refuge for homeless teens thought he had struck it rich like the kid in the lollie shop. Pity none of those boys he touched didn’t have such happy endings as ending up in parliament. Most of his victims are totally fucked up if not dead.

    Posted by long memory | October 17, 2008, 22:16
  16. Time to resign Theo! The game’s up. Looks like you are well and truly buggered this time.

    Posted by Entrails Reader | October 18, 2008, 0:23


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