West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says it’s insensitive to compare former treasurer Troy Buswell to a bikie and drug dealer.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has called on the premier to ask Mr Buswell to resign from parliament, after he was fined $3100 and disqualified from driving for one year over 11 traffic offences in one night.
“His failure to co-operate with the police, his failure to answer questions, his failure to give a statement to the police is appalling,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Tuesday.
“That’s the sort of stuff that drug dealers and bikies do.”
But Mr Barnett said making the comparison to bikies and drug dealers was “totally inappropriate”.
“I think what Mark was saying then just shows a lack of sensitivity to an issue,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.
“No one is excusing Troy for his driving behaviour at all, including me.”
Mr Barnett said Mr Buswell had publicly apologised, accepted his punishment and not received special treatment.
Mr Buswell could return to parliament next week.
“He will be given support by his parliamentary colleagues,” Mr Barnett said.
“They are his friends, myself included, and we hope he makes a full recovery.”
The premier believes Mr Buswell should continue as the member for Vasse.
“Troy’s future is up to him,” he said.
Mr Barnett also said he was unaware if Mr Buswell had plans to apply for an extraordinary license or rely on friends or colleagues to drive him to parliament.
Mr Buswell did not appear in court on Tuesday, but gave an endorsed plea of guilty to three counts of failing to stop at a traffic accident, four counts of failing to report a traffic accident and four counts of careless driving.
After attending a wedding, Mr Buswell crashed into parked cars on two Subiaco streets, causing thousands of dollars of damage to four vehicles and a telephone pole in the early hours of February 23.