29 April 2009

Ministerial irresponsibility?

It first broke more than a week ago, but the story of former Minister for Road Safety yet still Minister for Correctional Services, Youth and Volunteers Tom Koutsantonis' progressive disclosure of his driving record still has legs, as the part-ex Minister continues to shoot himself in the foot and
the media eg the ABC , The Advertiser/Adelaide Now and today's Australian (print ed p7) to report.

South Australia's former road safety minister Tom Koutsantonis has conceded he has been off the road three times due to traffic offences.Mr Koutsantonis has told Parliament he has incurred a total of 59 traffic infringements over 14 years.He currently has nine demerit points.

He says his licence was disqualified for three months between March and June 1999 and that he has also been suspended from driving twice.

"I have twice been temporarily suspended from driving due to the late payment of traffic fines, I was suspended from 15 December 2004 to 4 February 2005 and from 26 March 2006 to 15 May 2006," he said.

"I did not drive during these periods. My licence was returned to me upon paying the outstanding fines.

"The two instances where my licence was temporarily suspended due to late payment of fines did not come to mind when I was relating my driving record to the Premier, because the suspensions were not imposed due to my driving behaviour, but for the non-payment of fines arising from my driving."

His full Ministerial statement is here .

Premier Rann has also been embarassed by the developing situation. After first standing by his man he had to backflip as further details became known.

The Advertiser/Adelaide Now recently asked all ministers and shadow ministers to disclose their traffic records. The responses make interesting reading, not least for some disingenuous statements, notably Transport, Energy and Infrastructure Minister Conlon's coyness about a drink driving conviction some years ago.

This particular virus seems to have spead interstate, if this is any guide.

Given the disclosures of the Ministers and shadow Ministers about their own road traffic lapses perhaps Minister Koutsantinos has been punished enough by being exposed to ridicule and being removed from one of his positions. I reckon this one could remain in the public mind for a long time.

Disclosure: In the last decade I have expiated three traffic light offences, and still have (I think) three demerit points which are due to expire in June.

[Photo above taken in Wakefield St Adelaide today]

Update 30 April

The Adelaide Now website now has a graphic poll online "You be the judge: What should happen to Kouts' car?"

Options range from start at pimp it and ascend through crush it ,green it, infect it, graffiti it, detonate it !

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