ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has defended his former environment adviser, Aiden Bruford, who quit on Monday after police caught him stencilling anti-John Howard graffiti on the wall of a suburban shopping centre last week.

“He’s facing a police investigation, he’s facing a prosecution,” Stanhope told local ABC. “I simply don’t believe that a junior officer such as Mr Bruford should be required to give up his job as well.” After resisting pressure to sack Bruford, he says he would be happy to find work for his former environment adviser elsewhere within his department.

But what will come out in court? Canberra is a small place. There’s local talk that Bruford has been, er, making his mark on the Territory for some time. And what about Stanhope? We reported on how he indulged in macho idiocies after his re-election last year, kicking sand in the face of The Canberra Times .

And talking about politicians who are good on rhetoric but poorer with reality, ACT businesses are feeling very nervous about what Stanhope might have coming in the way of “socially-responsible” legislation. Canberrans say many are already looking over the border to Queanbeyan.

Peter Fray

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