There are some prefixes that, as a politician, you really would prefer not to have. Among these, “seat-sniffing” is probably somewhere at the top of the list, don’t you think?
SEAT-SNIFFING LEADER BREAKS DOWN
April 29, 2008 – 3:39PM
West Australian Opposition Leader Troy Buswell has broken down at a press conference and admitted he sniffed the chair of a female Liberal Party staffer.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference at Mandurah, south of Perth, Mr Buswell confirmed details of the woman’s account of a 2005 incident, reported in The West Australian newspaper today.
He said he was not standing down as Liberal leader.
The woman, who does not want to be named, said Mr Buswell started sniffing the chair she had been sitting on at his Parliament House office in December 2005.
The incident took place in front of other staff members.
She said he had done it to get a laugh.
“I was shocked and outraged and I told him,” the woman told the paper.
At today’s press conference, Mr Buswell said he had repeatedly refused to deny the allegations because he wanted to protect the woman involved.
But he broke down after he was asked about the effect of the reports on his wife and children.
Tears in his eyes, Mr Buswell said he needed a short break, turned his back and then asked his press secretary to bring him a glass of water.
Mr Buswell said his wife was aware of the allegations before they were published on Sunday.
He said it had been a difficult time for him “on a personal level”.
“These are difficult issues for me to deal with and they are very difficult issues for my family to deal with,” he said.
“It’s hard dealing with these matters and having to face up to your responsibilities behaviourally, publicly, and it’s harder to do it privately.”
Mr Buswell has previously admitted to snapping a Labor staffer’s bra as a drunken party trick and has been accused by retiring Liberal MP Katie Hodson-Thomas of making sexist remarks to her.
Deputy Liberal leader Kim Hames was today standing by Mr Buswell, describing him as a “rough diamond with a robust sense of humour”.
Dr Hames said his leader needed to change his behaviour, but also acknowledged there was no one to replace him.