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Stanhope jumps on “Mr Law and Order”

By Kerces - 22 May 2006 42

During this Stateline edition our new Opposition leader Bill Stefaniak was apparently filmed using a mobile phone while driving, which has been illegal for some years now.

As I said in a comment earlier, the Canberra Times picked up on this in their Sunday paper. It seems it took Mr Stefaniak three separate phone calls to journalist Paul Malone to get his story straight, which is that “he believed he was pulling over to make a call and might well have punched in some numbers while the car was still mobile”. The matter was referred to the police on Friday night and they are reviewing the footage.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has now gotten into the act with this extraordinary release in which he calls his opponent “Mr Law-and-Order” (twice) and “Mr Lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key” and recalls that this was the same man “who led the ferocious charge in hounding one of my own staff members out of a job and onto the dole after the staff member was charged with a property crime last year” [the link is mine].

And he continues: “Yet now, his attitude towards the law seems almost disdainful. Not only does it appear that he was so cavalier about traffic laws that he willingly permitted himself to be filmed transgressing those laws, he apparently thinks it is sufficient for him to blandly reassure the public that he will pay any resulting fine, if and when it is imposed.”

Goodness me!

Mr Stanhope says Wild Bill should either take his own medicine or explain to the public why a mere staffer has a zero-tolerance policy forced upon him while an elected member of parliament does not.

So which is worse: a bit of graffiti or driving while touching a mobile phone?

What’s Your opinion?

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42 Responses to
Stanhope jumps on “Mr Law and Order”
Thumper 11:11 am 23 May 06

“Stanhope is blowing this up for all the wrong reasons (i.e, he’s not highlighting this as part of a campaign to change driver attitudes and to improve road safety) but it doesn’t change the fact that Wild Bill acted like a dickhead, and should be a bit more bloody contrite”

Well said Oh Shabby One…

Mr Evil 10:24 am 23 May 06

Stefaniak = stupid fool!

Mr_Shab 10:06 am 23 May 06

I’m with Big Al. Bollocks to equivalence. This arbitrary sliding-scale of offences makes me sick. An offence is an offence for a reason. A prosecution/fine/whatever for breaking the law ought to be viewed as a mark of shame, rather than blithely dismissed as an inconvenience.

For the record, tags or stencils on my fence I can live with. Getting knocked off my bike and put in a wheelchair I’d rather not.

Stanhope is blowing this up for all the wrong reasons (i.e, he’s not highlighting this as part of a campaign to change driver attitudes and to improve road safety) but it doesn’t change the fact that Wild Bill acted like a dickhead, and should be a bit more bloody contrite.

Ari 9:41 am 23 May 06

Smackbang – you don’t end up with a criminal record for committing a traffic offence.

They are not substitutable terms.

Big Al 9:37 am 23 May 06

What a crock! All you lot fat-mouthing off about equivalence between a so called ‘traffic’ offence and a property offence. By saying ‘oh no, painting a stencil on a brick wall is way, way more naughtier that talking on a mobile while you’re driving you twats are now compelled to dismiss as frivolous other traffic offences – like exceeding the speed limit by 60km/h in a school zone or driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.2 or running over a innocent person in the bus interchange whilst driving unlicensed and underage.

Please by all means, continue to cherry pick what offences are worthy of your pathetic moral outrage – you’re hypocrisy might give me the shits, but your stupidity amuses me.

Smackbang 9:36 am 23 May 06

perhaps one of you could explain to me the difference between a “traffic offence” and a “criminal offence”? i don’t understand the difference. an offence is a crime – they’re substitutable words.

Indi 9:12 am 23 May 06

Sounds like the fabric of society is withering away…when did a traffic offence gain the same weight in the eyes of the law as a criminal offence?

An interesting exercise would be to find out how many of the local pollies have amassed a ‘record’ of traffic offences. Could end up being a pot calling the kettle black.

Chris S 9:10 am 23 May 06

I ride a motorbike and every so often nearly get cleaned up by stupid motorists using their mobiles. I’m with Spectra – graffiti is anti-social and criminal, but never killed anyone.

Dickheads that use mobiles while driving are ignorant, stupid, dangerous and bigger dickheads that Stanhope.

When I saw the program, I could not believe that Wild Bill could be so stupid as to not only be using his phone, but doing it while a crew was filming him. And his 3-stage response shows him in even worse light.

What a whacker!

VYBerlinaV8 9:06 am 23 May 06

The issue here is that most political activity seems related to pointing and shouting. It’s a shame that such a big deal needs to be made of this. Still, when in Rome…

barking toad 9:00 am 23 May 06

Mr Evil says all that needs to be said

Thumper 8:04 am 23 May 06

That is, a cyclone in a manuka latte….

Thumper 8:03 am 23 May 06


A cyclone a manuka latte….

JB is correct. A traffic offence but not a criminal one. Maybe Mr Stanhope didn’t realise this small, insignificant fact.

How about this comparison. Half of Canberra burns down, CM tries to gag the coroner. Stefaniak shown possibly using his mobile phone while driving.

If there is conclusive evidence then let the Police charge him. I have no problems with this.

Mr Evil 7:56 am 23 May 06

Stanhope = dickhead.

Spectra 11:40 pm 22 May 06

I’m sure I’ll start a flame war with this comment, but….I can’t remember a single reported fatality or serious injury where graffiti was a key contributory factor. I can recall at least two in recent times where using a mobile while driving was thought to be.

Just because lots of people do it, doesn’t make it right.

johnboy 10:22 pm 22 May 06

If the Chief Minister honestly believes that using a mobile phone while driving is the moral equivalent of vandalising public property then he’s a moral cretin unfit for any office.

Stupid equivalence.

Bill’s a dick but he’s committed a traffic offence, not a criminal one.

Canberra citizens who’ve used a phone while driving? 50%? Higher?

Canberra citizens who’ve vandalised with graffiti? I’m guessing less than one per cent.

I do, however, agree that it would be nice if Bill became more tolerant of the failings of others as a result of this experience.

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