Integrity in Public Office and Mental Health

Integrity in Public Office and Mental Health

Now that the dust has settled and the legal system has taken its course, I write on the most recent saga involving the former WA State Treasurer, Troy Buswell. It related to him driving his car home from a wedding and smashing into a number of parked cars, and yet failing to stop, or make any reports.

Troy Buswell’s defenders (Barnett and Abbott) played wild cards in a high stakes games by saying he needs privacy and personal space. Clearly, there also needed to be some accountability and transparency in this whole affair.
 
There is a much greater awareness of mental health issues now than there has been in the past. There is now much more information available about the consequences of mental illness. At the same time our prisons continue to hold many people who have done things, or made bad decisions while suffering from mental illness.
keep talking abt MH

 
Troy Buswell is a public figure.  His recent contribution to the debate around the Serco Fiona Stanley Hospital controversy is a case in point.  He was quick to sheet the blame home to health officials, but failed to acknowledge his well documented links to
Serco and zealous commitment to privatization. His comments have just been left hanging; with Health Minister Hames missing in action when it came to defending his department’s staff.
 
Tim Marney’s statements around the preparation of the Serco contract seemed to trigger the Treasurer’s comments and appeared to have been laying the responsibility for the fiasco at the feet of others; targets that the Treasurer and his cronies may not want scrutinized.
 
Driving while under the influence of alcohol and mental ill-health are not a good mix.  The numerous people whose cars were possibly damaged by Buswell on the night in question will feel rightly aggrieved.  Subsequently, the police investigation took its course and charges were laid.
 
Many people with mental illness struggle with managing their illness in the course of their everyday life; their illness does not absolve them of responsibility for their actions, or things they might say.  Public figures, politicians and especially senior
Government Ministers have a duty and much greater level of responsibility in office and in their personal lives.

Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall
Lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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