Don Randall, the Liberal Member for Canning today launched a damaging attack on one of his State colleagues in Federal Parliament. The scathing assessment of Police Minister Rob Johnson below might well be an indication that Mr Randall, who is still on the backbench after serving 5 terms in Parliament, may be considering retirement. Although the 59 year old is known for his gruff manner, the kind of public honesty below typically only comes when a Member of Parliament has given up on dreams of being promoted and no longer needs friends in the Party.
Take a read of my transcript of his extraordinary speech below and watch this space…
It is with a heavy heart that I feel compelled to outline why I have no confidence in Rob Johnson MLA, the member for Hillarys and the Minister for Police in the West Australian government. I have spent an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to represent the views of my constituents and Western Australians generally but, alas, his response and outcomes to these representations leave me no other alternative but to question minister Johnson's ability to do his job. I have made representations to this minister on a range of law and order issues for which he is responsible. A strong cabinet minister would be able to deliver more police and resourcing to an electorate like mine. Because he cannot, combating crime and antisocial behaviour and hooning in Canning is underresourced. One of the most recent issues is that of WA police targeting motorists leaving Canning Highway onto the Kwinana Freeway. It is on this road that police have been quite unfairly targeting motorists from behind bushes where the speed changes are confusing to drivers. This has received much media attention so I will not say any more than that this is wanton opportunistic use of police resources, particularly when double demerit points apply. It is unconscionable and should cease. This road is not a traffic blackspot as main road statistics will confirm. Minister Johnson has yet again abrogated any responsibility and leadership on this issue. The electorate would prefer these police resources to be better addressed against hooning and other antisocial behaviour in the community. In fact, as is his way, the minister has tried to shift the responsibility of this issue to Commissioner of Police Karl O'Callaghan and then to transport minister Troy Buswell.
The incompetent maladministration by this minister was demonstrated during the Kelmscott Roleystone bushfires in my electorate. He blamed everyone else and took no responsibility for any dysfunction. This is not how the Westminster system works. Others were sacked. Even the police commissioner is in a cloud now over this issue. Johnson's bumbling behaviour has seen him labelled 'Inspector Clouseau' by the state opposition. As an opposition MP he expressed his desire to bring back the noose when in government and to introduce the 'birch' to lawbreakers. As a government minister he has ditched those populist fantasies.
The minister is so weak and ineffective that the Labor appointed police commissioner is given a free rein. There is obviously no respect or authority shown by the commissioner, who at times chooses to stray into other occupations such as part-time FM radio host and rockstar. He can do all this and stare down the minister because the minister is weak and ineffective in giving leadership and direction to the commissioner in both policy and policing areas. Johnson and his office contend that he is unable to direct the commissioner or convey a strident point of view to the Commissioner of Police. This is not true; he has the powers to do so under the Constitution. One can only suspect that Johnson's silly and incompetent behaviour is due to an emerging health condition. Mr Johnson has made it known that at the age of 68 he intends to continue as a member for Hillarys. He wants to be Speaker in the next state parliament. He is often telling others that he wants to retire but he has no other hobbies or interests so he may as well keep going because he has nothing to do in retirement. It beggars belief that his pre-selectors could allow him to stand again, given his incompetence as an MLA and minister. I have friends and associates living in his electorate who tell me they feel offended that he is the Liberal's choice, and cannot bring themselves to vote for him. I share their aggravation.