There’s been much excitement in Sydney over the weekend at the news that opposition leader Peter Debnam called deputy DPP and Epping preselection hopeful Greg Smith over charges against a man accused of child s-x offences.

It’s expected Smith will be “counselled” – as the polite euphemism puts it – for taking the call by his boss, Nicholas Cowdery. He may even be required to relinquish his position during the preselection processes.

Debnam has worn plenty of heat over the call, too. There’s even been talk of referrals to ICAC.

But a new buzz this morning is circulating amongst senior liberal ranks in Sydney today.

You’d only make such a call then blab about it to the meeja if you’re stupid – or have an agenda, the thinking goes.

An ambitious theory is being constructed. It says Debnam doesn’t want Smith as the candidate in Epping, that he prefers Pru Goward, but knows the right have got the numbers.

So what does Debnam do? He makes the call and tells. Smith gets mired in controversy. If it goes to ICAC, Debnam can call it a matter of privilege. Punters will be keen to see child s-x charges acted on.

It’s a theory, anyway. Machiavelli in Epping.

Peter Fray

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