Politics — 07 May 2014

Disgraced former Treasurer Toy Buswell is refusing to say what happened on that infamous night in February when he crashed his car and left behind a trail of destruction in Subiaco.

Addressing the media, Mr Buswell said he had been diagnosed with bipolar depression, but refused to answer questions on whether he was drunk on the night.

The Vasse MLA said he was “embarrassed” and “mortified” by what had happened, saying he believed a return to work would help with his rehabilitation.432462-d2ad6b96-d4c3-11e3-b5be-ec06717bccf7

Asked why he did not speak to police about crashing his car and four other cars in Subiaco in his way back from a wedding in Kings Park, Mr Buswell said he had left it up to his lawyers to speak to investigators.

Asked by the media why he did not report smashing his ministerial car to the Premier or his office till March 9, the former Treasurer said he had been in hospital for several days after his “breakdown” on February 23.

Mr Buswell is currently addressing Liberal MPs, some of whom have told PerthNow he needed to tell the “whole story” in order to gain any respect from the public.

“Police have conducted a thorough investigation into a number of traffic accidents that occurred that night in Subiaco. Police formed a view they were caused by me, engaging in careless driving and I have accepted the consequences of my actions,” Mr Buswell said.

“Police have investigated those matters … I’m not a police officer and I’m not a lawyer from whom they would have received advice,” he said.

“In my view, the matter has been dealt with.”

“In relation to my health I have been diagnosed with bipolar depression, I have been receiving treatment for that from the 24th of February and that treatment is ongoing.

“I expect that treatment will continue for a long time to come.

“This has been a very difficult time for me and my family but all the advice I have from my doctor and others is returning to work is an important part of my recovery.”

Asked whether he was drunk on the night, Mr Buswell said: “The police have conducted an investigation and charged me with a range of driving offences and I accept responsibility for my actions. I have no more comment to make around events surrounding those matters.

“I am embarrassed and mortified that this happened, and I apologise and will continue to apologise to those people whom this has impacted.”

Asked why he did not speak to police, Mr Buswell said: “Like a lot of people in those circumstances where there was a police investigation I engaged a lawyer and that lawyer basically communicated on my behalf to police.”

Mr Buswell said that following the crash he was in hospital for “some 10 days” and was not in a state of mind to report the crash to the Premier, till March 9 – when police contacted Mr Barnett and his office.

In relation to who would pay for damage to the ministerial car and other vehicles, Mr Buswell said: “As I understand it Risk Cover has indicated they will assess those accidents.

“They have sought additional advice from the WA Police force but I haven’t had any other contact with Risk Cover.

I will wait until I receive additional advice from the government insurer.”

Mr Buswell would not commit to completing a full term.

“I want to get better and continue serving my constituents,” he said.

“What I can guarantee is that my full focus is on getting better and my focus is on continuing to provide the very best level of service I can to my constituents.”

Mr Buswell was spotted riding his bush bike to a gym in Northbridge. Later, he walked to Parliament.

He said he may apply for an extraordinary licence.

This article first appeared on The Herald Sun on 6 May, 2014.


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