In the ranks of the South Australian Parliamentary Labor Party is a member described in a fax sent to 100 media organisations by two voluntary workers for an independent MP as being a pedophile. That independent MP, one Peter Lewis, just happened, until he resigned yesterday, to be the Speaker of the lower house. Now the Labor Government is attempting to have legislation passed to temporarily suspend parliamentary privilege to prevent Mr Lewis or anyone else from naming the alleged pedophile. Hence the great guessing game as the good burgers of Adelaide try to work out whom is being referred to.
It is impossible not to have considerable sympathy with the Labor MP tangled up in this affair. The faxed statutory declaration apparently contained no evidence about the offence allegedly committed and past police investigations uncovered nothing untoward. Yet the Labor Government is going to extraordinary lengths in the attempt to protect one of its own and in the end what will they achieve?
The journalists, politicians and political staffers privy to the name will surely pass it on to a friend or three. Within a week the rumour mill will have spread to over a million. Along the way some will get the name wrong and the innocent victims of the slander will end up being not one Labor MP but half the Labor Party Caucus.