Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith ‘reflects’ on political career after drink-driving

Liberal MP Tim Smith has said he will spend at least two weeks reflecting on the future of his political career, a day after Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy publicly urged him not to run in the next election.

On Tuesday, Mr Guy revealed that he had told Mr Smith that he did not want him to run in the next election “for the sake of the people of Victoria” after the Kew MP crashed his car over the weekend while he drove with more twice as much legal blood. -alcohol limit.

Sir. Smith, who had the opposition’s attorney general’s portfolio, withdrew from the shadow cabinet on Sunday after driving his car into a Hawthorn home and then returning a .131 breath test.

In a 30-minute interview with Melbourne radio station 3AW, Smith acknowledged that Guy had given him “strong advice”, but he declined to rule out running for pre-selection.

“I do not know yet, I reflect on my position, I speak to many people,” he said.

“I will spend the next two weeks, probably more, reflecting on my life, on my job and what people in Kew want me or do not want me to do, and I will make a decision accordingly.”

Sir. Smith said he was “so, so sorry” for the embarrassment and hurt caused by his “shocking judgment”.

MP ‘had not eaten very much’ before the crash

Smith said he had been to a friend’s house for a few hours before the crash and had ingested “a few glasses of wine.”

He said he had sincerely thought he was below the legal limit when he sat in the driver’s seat, but “I was clearly more intoxicated than I had thought I was”.

Fence with plywood and red and white tape covering one panel.
Smith says he apologized to the owners of the home he hit and offered to pay all damages.(ABC News: Leanne Wong)

“I hadn’t eaten very much all day, so as a consequence I was blowing a lot more than I ever thought I had eaten,” he said.

Smith said the accident had happened as he was driving down a hill and a driver in front of him pressed the brake.

“I swung to miss him, cut him and ended up where I did,” he said.

He said he had “apologized violently” to the owners of the Hawthorn home he struck, and had offered to pay all damages.

Sir. Smith said police have not yet indicated to him whether further charges will be filed for the incident.

He also said he had talked to his doctor and promised in the air never to drink alcohol again “in public life”.

“I do not think I am an alcoholic, but I have certainly consumed too much alcohol on too many occasions,” he said.

The MP also defended his first statement released after the crash, acknowledging that he had returned a positive breath test and his driver’s license had been suspended for a year, but did not mention that he had hit a house.

“The honest answer is that I was in deep shock … I issued a statement that I thought was, well, nothing I said in that statement was untrue,” he said.

“I’m sorry if it was difficult … I just posted the statement again to apologize for my behavior.”

Smith questions whether ‘catalymic error’ should cost his career

Comparisons have been made with Mr Smith’s position and Labor MP Will Fowles, who kicked a hotel door in during an alcohol-related incident in Canberra in 2018.

At the time, Mr Smith said Mr Fowles was no longer fit to sit as a Member of Parliament.

“I said a few things about Will that if I had known better about his mental state, I probably would not have said them,” Mr Smith said this morning.

“You have every right to call me a hypocrite for those comments.”

Sir. Smith said he did not suffer from mental illness and did not put it forward as an excuse for his behavior.

“I’m not playing the mental health card, I’m not saying he [Will Fowles] did… I think this has probably taught me a number of lessons, but one is also that maybe being a little more understanding of others could be a lesson in life that is well learned, “he said.

Smith said he drew on a wide circle to advise on his next move.

“I ask my ward members in Kew what their thoughts are, I ask what my family’s thoughts are, I ask … a variety of people who have existed in life much longer than me, about this catastrophic mistake and deep moral failure should end my career completely, “he said.

“I would at least like people to think I would learn from what has been the greatest catastrophe that has ever befallen me because of my own stupidity, and I would simply ask for forgiveness and hope. “People will realize that I will learn from this and never do it again.”

Smith’s candidacy in the November 2022 state election has not yet been approved by the party.


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