Richard Evans would have to go down as one of the worst MPs we’ve had in the Federal Parliament in recent years and now the federal police are investigating allegations that he abused his stationary allowance.

“It has been alleged that former West Australian MP Richard Evans ordered large amounts of paper for his electorate office and gave it to a printer. In turn, it is claimed, the printer did printing work for Mr Evans at election time. Mr Evans has denied the claims.

The Federal Police are also looking into allegations that Justice Minister Chris Ellison knew about the alleged rort. The Minister’s office did not comment on the claims.”

Federal police have interviewed Evans’ previous staff members.

These allegations about Evans have been circulating both inside and outside the Liberal Party since the 1996 federal election. It is understood that senior members of the Liberal Party were also aware of the allegations.

Ellison was the sponsor Senator, responsible for Evans campaign and both he and his staff were deeply involved in it. Evans was a protege and friend of Senator Ian Campbell who lobbied for Evans preselection.

Shortly after Evans was pre-selected in 1992, the State President, Bill Hassell moved to disendorse him because he discovered that his alleged door knocking had been at the phantom homes of phantom occupants.

Campbell managed to save Evans by pleading with Hassell to give him another chance. Hassell reluctantly did so with great reservations. During the campaign Evans struck upon a novel method of fund raising. He proposed a “readathon” by which he stayed at home and read books. Donors were to sponsor him for each word he read!

Evans had two notable highlights in his short political career. One was a speech he gave in the parliament in which he plagiarised, word for word, an article that Barry Jones had earlier circulated to every member and Senator in parliament house. Perhaps Evans thought that Jones would forget he had circulated it. Maybe he had not heard that Jones was quite well known for his retentive memory. After an investigation by the Speaker, Evans was forced to apologies to the Chamber.

Evans’s other profound initiative which we can take on this occasion to be all his own work was to call for the extermination of all domestic cats.

He got to know his electorate so well that on one occasion he was invited as a special guest at a church service and sat through almost the entire service until he realised he was in the wrong church.

In spite of the Liberal government being re-elected in 1998, Evans was defeated with a swing of 7.62% against him.

Is it any surprise.

Peter Fray

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