Campbell Newman has no choice, so should make a virtue of it. Ros Bates, the Arts Minister, and Michael Caltabiano, Director-General of Transport and Main Roads both need to be sacked.
The longer he leaves it, the worse it will get, so best to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
Bates needs to go now, Caltabiano will have to wait until the outcome of inquiries into his conduct (even though the outcome seems extremely predictable, and prejudicial to him).
Both are implicated in a potential case of nepotism where Bates’ son, Ben Gommers, was appointed to be a Ministerial Liaison Officer in the Transport Department after a freeze had been put on hiring, and with nil experience in the public service.
But due to both of their own actions the matter has moved beyond that.
For some inexplicable reason Caltabiano denied in a budget estimates committee that he had had a professional relationship with Gommers.
As Caltiabiano was one of the founders of Entree Vous, a lobbying firm with a curiously non-idiomatic French name, and looking at their current website, limited expertise in English, and Gommers was also a director, this is inexplicable.
Bates appeared to have a tangential role, until she called in sick and said she couldn’t be in parliament next week to answer questions.
However, ABC footage today shows that not only is she not that sick that she can’t drive a car, but that she is probably driving that car in breach of the traffic laws.
That’s two strikes for Bates, and three for the government – time to walk.
But it actually gets worse.
A company search shows that Caltabiano has never been a director of Entree Vous, but that doesn’t explain why the Courier Mail has a copy of a card showing him listed as “Managing Partner”, or with an email address via the company’s domain name. Neither does it explain why he was listed as a lobbyist for the firm, or Nick Minchin gave him and Ros Bates a glowing reference for their roles in Entree Vous.
This suggests that Caltabiano and the directors of Entree Vous have no idea how a company works, or what their legal obligations are.
Neither of them can continue in their current roles. They don’t have the skills or the understanding. And they are dragging Campbell Newman down to no end.