Breathalyser bathos is dominating politics in the West, with a new angle yesterday turning up tincture tensions on Liberal leader Matt Birney.

“The state opposition leader Matt Birney has conceded he may have had more to drink than what he initially revealed on the night he was breath tested by police,” local ABC Radio reported. Birney’s memory appeared impaired. Have a dekko at the transcript:

REPORTER: Mr Birney initially told one media outlet he’d consumed a couple of light beers last Wednesday night. He later put that figure at three or four. This afternoon a journalist asked him if he had wine as well.


JOURNO: You didn’t?


JOURNO: You didn’t have any red wine at all?

BIRNEY: Look, I don’t really remember.

REPORTER: Mr Birney says he can’t recall how much he drank at Parliament before heading to the Subiaco Hotel for drinks. Speaking from Brisbane today, the police minister, Michelle Roberts, repeated her claim, that Mr Birney blew over .05 in his initial test. His official reading was .038. She says she only made Mr Birney’s test result public because of his assertion that at no stage had he blown over .05.

Now, where did that red wine story come from? No-one in the media or opposition parties had previously heard of this new twist – but they’re making up with speculation. Did the vin rouge revelation come from people very close to Beer Matt? Is “time gentlemen” about to be called on the opposition leader?