The PM says David Benson-Pope has learnt a powerful lesson. Indeed he has. You can now keep your Ministerial job despite lying to Parliament.
If we go back a couple of days to the Dominion Post editorial, they make the valid point:
“It was brutal and ugly stuff … However, Mr Benson-Pope has no one to blame but himself for his misfortunes.”
“His real troubles began when he denied the allegation and said he was not aware of any complaint “of any kind” during his 24 years as a teacher. Even he now admits that answer fell short of what is expected of a minister, but it has taken him almost 10 months to reach that conclusion and during that time, he has employed every conceivable device to avoid responsibility for his actions.”
Even Russell Brown has concluded:
“David Benson Pope has been arrogant and deceitful in his handling of accusations about his time as a teacher … he has misled the House and by rights should be gone.”
Now both the Dom Post and Russell also expressed distaste at DBP being labelled a “pervert” in the House. I agree that such labels are taking it too far (even noting it was repeating a quote by a non MP).
However worth recalling Deborah Conddington’s recollections of how DBP treated her in Parliament:
Benson-Pope, Clayton Cosgrove and Mark Peck were Parliament’s playground bullies. At General Debate they ganged up on me and made my life a misery, accusing me of ripping off authors, stealing money, not paying GST, defrauding the public. They brought my children into the fray. For weeks my life was held up to public scrutiny and my family blew apart under the pressure.
Benson-Pope, in particular, would sit and chant, “Pay your GST, pay your GST.” He was relentless in his malice towards me, and it was horrible.
So forgive me if I do not shed a tear everytime I read how upset David Benson-Pope is by all this.
The issue anyway isn’t so much the nature or even substance of the allegations. They are that DBP said in Parliament he was not aware of any complaint “of any kind” and there is on the record proof of at least three written formal complaints.