Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Vaile - The absent MP

A whole bunch of former Howard government ministers have turned into part time members since they were booted from office last November.

My local federal member, Mark Vaile, sought re-election and won his seat, but he lost his coveted position of Deputy Prime Minister. I predicted at the time that he would jump ship sooner rather than later, but like his colleagues he is reluctant to give up the perks while he pursues new opportunities.

While the majority of MPs are committed to the job they were elected to do, Vaile is off in the Middle East doing some sort of corporate consultancy. He is still supposedly my local member and has recently been quoted in the local paper screaming about the loss of democracy with the sacking of our local council.

I’m not sure what kind of consultancy would want the man his former ministerial colleagues thought of as a lame brained half-wit. I’m not sure what influence he has when his own parliamentary leader now publicly rebukes his behaviour. As a potential lobbyist he really doesn’t have a lobby to work.

Locals haven’t really missed Vaile, here is rarely seen at the best of times. Some of us conducted a running commentary during the last election campaign, tracking his movements around the country – anywhere but the electorate. But his days are numbered.

I was among those who predicted that he would be gone within six months of losing his exalted government position. I’m thinking we might not be too far off that target. At last we might have the opportunity to elect a member who gives a damn about their constituents and country.

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