Kiddies everywhere have been shocked, as has the Prime Minister, to learn that Senator Santo “Santa” Santoro is not an entirely honest man. Santoro was the latest victim of rebounding mud-slinging when it became apparent that he had “forgotten” to declare seventy-something share trades and underwritings, in breach of ministerial conduct guidelines. As The Australian’s Paul Kelly says: “His behaviour defies common sense and public duty. It permits only two explanations – either Santoro was grossly inept or he engaged in deception. And it is probably a combination of both.” Santoro resigned before he could be sacked.
Santoro had earlier explained away one breach last week, his shares in a biotech company that worked in an area conflicting with Santoro’s role as Minister for Ageing, by saying he had sold the shares and donated the profits to a “worthy cause” — in his case a right-wing family values outfit. Howard stood by this man at that time, but is now obviously very angry that Santoro “forgot” the other seventy-odd dealings.
Another article in today’s Australian shows just what a mare’s nest the Queensland Liberal Party seems to be: Exposing a factional underworld.