The funny thing about Future Political Leaders is how few of them actually reach their supposed destiny.

Mal Brough was a Future Political Leader. His meteoric rise in Coalition ranks under John Howard — from parliamentary secretary to assistant treasurer and into the key indigenous portfolio, where he led the government’s radical response to child s-xual abuse in the Northern Territory — had colleagues touting him as a deputy leader and even a potential prime minister in a post-Howard era.

Even after losing his seat in 2007 the aura never went away. He began meddling in party affairs in 2008 and his return to Parliament seemed inevitable. Certainly, he just had to keep his hands to himself to take Peter Slipper’s place on the LNP how-to-vote card at the next election.

But Brough didn’t keep his hands to himself. He couldn’t help himself. As Bernard Keane writes:

“… he’s put all of that in danger with a remarkable display of poor judgment in not merely becoming involved in a campaign to damage Slipper — who could always be relied upon to damage himself, regardless of who else was trying — but then lying about it publicly. Even if he returns to politics, he’s damaged goods, and the former minister may find his stint on the backbench an extended one under a Coalition government.”

Another Future Political Leader falls.