Federal Labor backbencher Belinda Neal’s antics at the Iguana nightclub (where else?) and on the soccer field have raised the ire of the Prime Minister, who ordered her into counselling all the way from Japan.

Naturally, Crikey thought this red-card moment an opportune time for another Crikey List — we present MPs Behaving Badly:

  • Troy Buswell: WA Opposition Leader Troy Buswell broke down at a press conference in April this year after admitting he had sniffed the chair of a female staff member when he was then Deputy Liberal Leader in late 2005. It was the second time Buswell had been forced to admit to engaging in inappropriate behaviour towards women — in 2007, during a drunken night at Parliament House, he snapped open the bra of a Labor staffer. But in the April presser Buswell said he’d changed his ways, and his party believed him, knocking back a motion to remove him as Opposition Leader.
  • Tony Abbott: The former health minister has a history of insults and foul language. Highlights include calling Labor MP Kelvin Thompson a “snivelling grub” in 2006, and showing up late to a 2007 election debate with Labor’s Nicola Roxon and then describing her suggestion that he could have been on time as “bullsh-t”.
  • Andrew Quah: The NSW Family First candidate shot himself in the foot after pictures of him exposing himself appeared on gay websites and were emailed around the country in the middle of the last federal election. Quah also admitted to looking at p-rn websites in the previous two weeks. However, he didn’t remember posing for the photos, saying he must have been drunk or drugged by his enemies. Quah was dumped as Family First candidate for his western Sydney seat.
  • Kevin Rudd: Just after Rudd was crowned Opposition Leader came the revelation that he’d visited New York strip club Scores in 2003 while he was Shadow Foreign Affairs minister. Rudd said he couldn’t remember what had happened because he was too drunk. Not very Prime Ministerial behaviour, but the Liberal party’s focus on the incident backfired, with the revelation only making Rudd more popular.
  • Senator Andrew Bartlett: The former Democrats leader manhandled and abused a female Liberal senator in 2003 after she confronted him about stealing five bottles of wine from a Liberal function. Bartlett later admitted he was struggling with depression and alcohol abuse. He apologized to Senator Jeannie Ferris, and stood down as leader of the Democrats.
  • Mark Latham: The fiery Labor leader’s temper regularly landed him on the frontpages. He allegedly broke a taxi driver’s arm in 2001 after a scuffle over the fare, and was accused of punching a man in his days as a Liverpool councillor. After quitting politics, he was charged with assault after smashing a photographer’s camera in the carpark of his local Hungry Jack’s. But Latham also enjoyed a good verbal stoush, referring to John Howard as a “arselicker” and the leader of a party who were little more than a “conga line of suckholes” when it came to relations with the US.
  • Wilson Tuckey: Some would suggest that Tuckey deserves his own separate list. He earned the nickname “Ironbar” after he was convicted for assaulting an aboriginal man with a steel cable whilst a publican in WA. He holds the title of the first federal minister to have a conviction for assault. In 1986 he called then Prime Minister Paul Keating an “idiot” and a “hopeless nong” after Keating had earlier called him a “piece of criminal garbage.” He stepped down from the frontbench in 2003 after he wrote to the South Australian Police Minister asking him to ‘review’ his son’s traffic charge. In 2006, he called Kim Beazley a “fat so and so” just to show he hadn’t mellowed on the backbench. He continues to get kicked out of Parliament on a regular basis.
  • Bill Heffernan: John Howard’s rough, tough attack dog, Heffernan was in hot water last year after claiming that deputy Labor leader Julia Gillard was unfit to lead the nation because she was “deliberately barren”.
  • Paul Keating: Our former PM was never one to mince words, referring to John Howard as a “desiccated coconut”, Wilson Tuckey as a “stupid foul-mouthed grub” and Andrew Peacock as a “gutless spiv”. But it was the unconscious touching of the Queen’s back on her royal visit in 1992 that earned him the nickname “The Lizard of Oz”.
  • John Brown: Hawkie’s tourism minister gained notoriety for describing koalas as as “flea-ridden, piddling, stinking, scratching, rotten little things”, but it was his admission that he had s-x on his parliamentary desk with wife Jan Murray that earns him a spot on this list.
  • Jeff Kennett: as the wild boy Victorian Liberal opposition leader in the 1980s, promised to take the losers in an Italian beauty contest out the back for a “consolation prize”. He also called the Victorian Premier Joan Kirner a “stupid woman” and was caught telling his mate Andrew Peacock on a mobile that he thought his then Liberal rival John Howard was “a little c—“.
  • Joe Tripodi: made the front pages in 2000 after allegations he dropped his pants for a young Democrats staffer at a function in Parliament House.
  • Noel Crichton-Browne: never recovered after allegedly telling journalist Colleen Egan “I will screw your t-ts off” if she reported how he voted at a party conference in 1995. On being told it was her job to report the news, Crichton-Browne said: “Would you like to have s-x tonight? Write that down.”

We know this is far from exhaustive … if you can think of other examples, drop us a line at [email protected] with “bad pollies” in the subject field. We’ll publish updates as they come to hand.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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