WA Treasurer Troy Buswell is beginning a recovery following a mental breakdown, as his controversial ministerial career comes to an end
The colourful, charismatic and controversial ministerial career of West Australian politician Troy Buswell is over, as he begins a battle to recover from a mental breakdown.
At an emotional press conference, Premier Colin Barnett confirmed Mr Buswell had tendered his resignation during a phone call when he also admitted crashing his government car into security gates at his Perth home.
The February 23 incident sparked a brief police investigation on the night and then prompted Mr Buswell to take personal leave for the past two weeks.
But the full details of the crash, which occurred after Mr Buswell had driven home from a wedding, only emerged publicly on Sunday after the witness who reported the erratic driving to the police told the same story to local media.
“It is a very sad day and a sad situation he found himself in. He has had a breakdown,” Mr Barnett said.
Since taking leave, Mr Buswell had been in hospital undergoing treatment in both Perth and Sydney, Mr Barnett said.
He has been released from hospital and returned to Perth but is still under medical care.
Mr Buswell resigned as WA treasurer and transport minister but remains MP for the regional seat of Vasse.
The dramatic day began with a West Australian newspaper report of a witness saying they had to stop their vehicle to avoid being struck by Mr Buswell’s white Holden Caprice on Roberts Road, Subiaco.
The witness said Mr Buswell then collided with the front fence of his home and spun the car’s tyres before eventually parking it in the driveway.
Police were called, with an operator told by the witness “we actually joked between ourselves that it looked like Troy Buswell”.
But neither the car nor property involved were registered to Mr Buswell, with the constables at the scene deciding to take no further action.
Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said he only became aware of Mr Buswell’s involvement after media inquiries on Sunday. Police minister Liza Harvey said it was only then she was informed.
As Mr Buswell’s resignation was being revealed, police were at his home taking photos of the damaged car and fence, more than a fortnight after the accident.
But Mr O’Callaghan admitted Mr Buswell was unlikely to face charges for drink driving, with any conviction without breath test analysis virtually impossible.
“With drink driving charges, there is no possibility if you are investigating three weeks later. It is very hard to prove without a breath test,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
The resignation ends Mr Buswell’s headline-filled ministerial career, which has included allegations of bra-snapping, chair-sniffing and a spectacular public falling out with former lover and Greens MP Adele Carles.
While the state opposition trod carefully, they did question whether various ministerial offices knew about the incident and when.
“I think there is a cloud of doubt that hangs over the premier’s explanation,” Labor leader Mark McGowan said.
A replacement minister will be revealed later this week.