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LOWER THAN A SNAKE’S BELLY AND TWICE AS SLIMY: Evan blames his kids for choosing $700K salary over party loyalty

thornleyshamed So much has been said of Evan Thornley’s tawdry departure from the Victorian Parliament and his rejection of a senior ministry that only from his own mouth could he supply further appalling insight into the impoverished spirit of this wealthy man.

His defence of his decision to pursue a very high salary in a very odd start-up Better Place boiled down to this shameful and exploitative formulation reported by the Herald Sun:

The job is believed to be worth about $700,000 a year.

But Mr Thornley told the Herald Sun it was his children’s future that had forced his hand more than any cash incentive.

“I only choose to work on things I believe in,” he said.

“We were talking about it as a family on Christmas Day, and one of my kids said to me, ‘Daddy, this is the coolest company in the whole world’.

“They’ve got a view of their future, and they’ve got an understanding of what we’re doing at Better Place, and they were saying, ‘This is pretty important and pretty unusual’,” he said.

Whether this conversation is real or one of Evan’s notorious inventions, his recounting of it couldn’t be any more low rent if he’d been parked on Monopoly’s Old Kent Road (please pronounce carefully).

Blaming his children or attempting to use them in a political equivalent of human shields is one of the lowest grub acts we have ever witnessed in politics.

It transcends the arguably corrupt nature of his dealings as the concurrent spruiker of Better Place with a number of parliamentary colleagues and his then role as the Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation.

The company was clearly part of Thornley’s portfolio responsibilities. His assertion that he only knew of the company’s demands for money and other benefits from the Victorian Government after they happened doesn’t square with the recollections of his colleagues who say Thornley was talking about electric cars and had largely disengaged from political activities from around August onwards.

The Age reports Thornley’s spin:

“Let’s be clear. What I now understand, which I didn’t even know about then, (was that) these guys had had a whole series of meetings with the Victorian Government prior to me even meeting them — with some tens of people over some number of meetings — and already had secured the support of the Victorian Government.”

The fruits of those negotiations became clear on October 23, when Premier John Brumby and and Innovation Minister Gavin Jennings announced a working group to “examine the development of fuel-efficient vehicle technology, with a particular focus on the development of the first generation of electric vehicles”.

VEXNEWS understands from Liberal sources that the efficient David Davis has already lobbed in comprehensive FOI probes over Better Place. If Thornley is lying about his involvement working for the Victorian Government while also advising Better Place about “doing business in Australia” then that will erupt into a fully fledged public scandal.

We can only hope Thornley doesn’t also blame that on his kids. Going to a hippy love alternative school in Kew, in a grotesque environmentally sound McMansion around the corner, with mama Tracey setting a drunken and violent example and papa Thornley using them as political human shields to justify his money lust, we think they have probably suffered enough.

UPDATE: Thornley’s departure was reported in the AFR (off-line) with amusing assertions from him about his commitment to ethics. It will be highly amusing to see him try to talk his way out of his shame at the parliamentary inquiry into the Thornley affair. Funnily enough he refused to rule out seeking government largesse to help bankroll his business, an approach to conflict of interests unmatched since the time of the worst excesses of former Queensland Minister Russ Hinze who would order state funded roads built past his properties.
Thornley scandal in Fin Review


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  1. Andrew, give it up. You take it all out of context and jazz it up into a big fat nothing. Everyone is far more interested in the internal machinations of the Vic ALP, rather than your vitriolic rubbish about someone you went into battle with a few decades ago who happens to be more successful than you.

    Posted by Tired | January 21, 2009, 11:37
  2. It isn’t just low because he blamed it on his kids.

    It is also low because he chose today to announce it when it waqs highly unlikely to get the attention and scrutiny it deserves while the world is focused on Washington DC.

    Thornley is a disgrace!

    Posted by Anonymous | January 21, 2009, 11:45
  3. Good on Evan for prioritising family over the destruction of person and idealism that is participation in the Labor party.

    Posted by Kieran Bennett | January 21, 2009, 12:03
  4. Andrew, I couldn’t agree with you any more.

    Precisely the same thought crossed my mind when I read the article – how dare he say it was the kid’s fault!

    He didn’t have the same thoughts when he stood for parliament 2 years ago, so why the sudden change of heart?

    Surely a man who cares about his kids does so on a ‘slow burn’ rather than a sudden rash decision.

    No. The fact of the matter is he couldn’t hack the responsibility of being a pollie and has jumped at a corporate opportunity to feed his own insatiable but lazy ambitions.

    His kids had nothing to do with it.

    I’ve submitted a letter to the editor of The Age about this: bet you they won’t publish something that attacks a left leaning latte sipper.

    Posted by Noel Jackson | January 21, 2009, 12:06
  5. A new low for Thornley, for sure.

    And I disagree with ‘tired’ that his typically self-centered remarks were taken out of context by Vex.

    No parent should parentify their children by dragging them into adult decision-making as Thornley blatantly did here.

    It’s just another reason to hate him. As if we needed one.

    And is Thornley successful? If you measure it by having ill-gotten gains, he is. If you measure by living a full life lived for causes greater than your own, Thornley is a big fat red wine swilling black Amex wielding failure. He can buy everything he wants except happiness and fulfillment.

    May he slink off into comfortable retirement as the shit Labor needs to wipe of its shoe.

    Good riddance to a bad man.

    Posted by Sick and tired of Thornley | January 21, 2009, 12:59
  6. I am very sorry that Thornley has departed because he at least created the impression that outsiders could do well in the ALP or at least would be given half a chance.

    It’s a shame he has done much to discredit broadening out the political gene pool beyond union officials and political staff.

    Posted by sorry | January 21, 2009, 13:01
  7. Good observation, Sorry.

    Labor has to hope that ‘Black December’ will fade away without any more problems, otherwise they won’t hold government.

    Posted by Noel Jackson | January 21, 2009, 13:37
  8. I read this morning’s article and all it said was “…blah, blah, blah I left from more cash, blah blah blah…”. Thornley could have done more in not only promoting Better Place’s solution and indeed other companies alternate fuel solutions as a Minister. He just would not have made any cash out of it.

    He talks about doing what he believes in. Well that is obviously looking after number 1. There are plenty on both sides of the political fence that could make more money elsewhere but have the courage and convictions to forego this to help work for the common good.

    Thornely is a weak individual who chose himself over not just his party but over all Victorians.

    As for the comment from “Sorry” about the union officials, just remember that these people accept a life of modest monetary reward to fight to protect other that are not in a position to represent themselves. That is why union officials make good politicians and that is a fundamental point that weak c***ts like you and the likes of Thornley cannot understand.

    Posted by Right Said Fred | January 21, 2009, 14:06
  9. Now that Evan Thornley has chosen to make his children a political plaything, VEXNEWS should tell us all about them. Their names, photos, where they go to school and so on. Thornley has made them individuals of legitimate public interest.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 21, 2009, 16:58
  10. Good point Anonymous. No-one was forcing Evan to come out with this. He has volunteered it into public domain, so he has to cop whatever public interest may come with it.

    Posted by Noel Jackson | January 21, 2009, 22:20
  11. I think blaming Evan for being Evan is enough without sharing the blame around with innocent offspring used as political human shields by Evan.

    At least they have their trust fund.

    Posted by VEXNEWS | January 21, 2009, 23:03
  12. mama Tracey setting a drunken and violent example

    Say what? Please provide an example, otherwise refrain from making defamatory statements about Evan’s wife.

    Posted by MissT | January 22, 2009, 1:42
  13. .. in fact I wonder if he really does have children. Perhaps he borrowed his neighbours children for his family pics….

    Posted by Noel Jackson | January 22, 2009, 12:13
  14. Is there a chance that Thorney was disappointed and bored with parliamentary politics? That in up close and personal experience and in conversation with Brumby he realised that Vic and Federal Labor leaders wanted the bureaucrats to run the country not the Ministers or Parliament. Did he conclude that his only role as a Minister would be to mouth the spin of the media hacks and do nothing bureaucrats rather than make a difference? Did he opt for doing something real for Australian workers and industry in private enterprise? Only he really knows. We can only wait and see.

    Posted by Hopefully Working for Real Outcomes | January 22, 2009, 15:35
  15. Can provide many examples of drunken and violent behaviour from Ms Ellery, notorious for such things.

    Mid 1990s, she’d had an absolute gutful at a bar in Hardware Lane, staggered back to her then office and launched herself at Evan, including delightfully throwing a picture frame at him, narrowly missing the poor bloke.


    Approximately six witnesses.

    She is a shocker.

    Can provide further examples.

    Posted by VEXNEWS | January 22, 2009, 15:51
  16. Better Place electric cars will presumably source energy from the Australian electricity grid and will therefore really be 85% coal-powered.

    Posted by tesla | January 22, 2009, 16:51
  17. Would these six witnesses be willing to sign statutory declarations to that effect? Because if not, then you don’t have proof; your statement is based solely on your say so, and that isn’t good enough. Ms Ellery would be well within her rights to take legal action against you.

    Posted by MissT | January 23, 2009, 0:04