FLINDERS MP Greg Hunt was back in the political fast lane on Monday, in Canberra for the Liberal party room’s vote for a Speaker to replace Bronwyn Bishop.
Three days before that he had been standing at the end of Cowes pier after completing his 19-day Walk for Autism. His walk to raise $25,000 for Amaze (Autism Victoria) and the Abacus Learning Centre, Hastings, took him 500 kilometres through his electorate, which includes the southern Mornington Peninsula and Western Port, including Phillip Island.
While on his walk Mr Hunt was publicly absent from being involved in the controversy surrounding Mrs Bishop’s extensive travel expenses.
In neighbouring Dunkley, Mr Hunt’s Liberal colleague Bruce Billson assured ABC radio listeners that Mrs Bishop “will do the right thing”. This same sentiment was also expressed by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the next day or so, until Mrs Bishop announced she was “sorry” and would leave the Speaker’s chair. Neither Mr Billson or Mr Abbott would be dcrawn on what they thought the “right thing” was.
Comparisons between Mr Hunt’s walk around his electorate – if publicised nationally – would no doubt have rivalled that of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull who was all too willing to be seen disembarking from a train to Geelong, a stark contrast to Mrs Bishop’s helicopter flight to the same city.
Mr Hunt was also able to miss last week’s Cabinet meeting in Adelaide which preceded the announcement by Mr Abbott of a shipbuilding package that will help unemployment in South Australia. There was no promise to save jobs in Victoria’s ailing shipbuilding sector.
The hue and cry surrounding Monday’s election of Casey MP Tony Smith to the Speaker’s chair must have seemed a world away from Mr Hunt’s stroll around the highways and byways of Flinders.
The walk – likely to exceed its $25,000 target – will have a direct benefit for those affected by autism.
Mr Smith’s party room election was all about politics and appearances.