Friday, May 21, 2010

David Campbell Resigns As Minister

NSW Minister David Campbell has resigned as Minister for Roads & Transport. His resignation follows Channel 7's news story, yesterday, of his visit, outside Parliamentary hours, to a gay men's "club" in Sydney on Tuesday night.

He has taken leave to deal with "family issues" arising from the revelations. Most feel considerable sympathy for his wife and children. His wife has recently battled cancer.

Mr Campbell had previously weathered public and Opposition anger over the bungling of accident & traffic diversion on the F3 Freeway north of Sydney. I believe he should have resigned because,as Minister, he is ultimately responsible for the performance of his Departments.

A number of questions arise from the Channel 7 story:
  1. Was there anything illegal in his actions? It appears not: it is accepted that Ministers can use their government cars for private purposes; and it is not illegal to visit gay sex clubs.
  2. Was any public interest served? This is a more difficult question. 'Public interest' is difficult to define, but many agree it involves common good or general welfare of society. Channel 7 reports indicated he resigned after questions were put to him about his visit to a gay sex club. If so, that would be wrong of Channel 7. No questions appear to have been asked about what effects, if any, Mr Campbell's lifestyle had on his Ministerial performance, until AFTER the news story. He, and others, have since indicated that it had no effect. That statement is untested, but Channel 7 have presented no evidence to support such a claim. Being a public figure doesn't justify scandal-mongering.
I suspect that Channel 7, and the journalist who broke the story, Adam Walters, had little motive other than scandal-mongering for profit. It's not something I'd want to put on my CV. Nor would I want to put "lives a double life" or "unfaithful to family".