Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

The Nationals have been again embarrassed by an incident involving one of their parliamentarians drinking.

Their deputy leader, NSW senator Perin Davey, stumbled over words while at a Senate committee hearing last Tuesday, after attending the party’s regular staff drinks function.

Davey subsequently said she had had two glasses of red wine but “I don’t think I was drunk”.

“I wouldn’t say I was under the weather. I stumbled over my words. If you want to pick on people who stumble over their words, there are plenty of Labor MPs [who do so],” she said on Sky at the weekend.

She told The Conversation on Sunday, “The Senate estimates process is long and arduous. I don’t think anyone is saying I didn’t do my job.” At the time she was asking questions of the agency Create Australia, “because I am very interested in the arts in the regions”.

The previous week former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was videoed, after falling off a planter box in a Canberra street, lying on his back talking into his phone. He later said he had been drinking while on medication.

Last week independent Zali Steggall asked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese whether he would legislate for random drug and alcohol testing of parliamentarians and staff.

But Albanese indicated he was not in favour of that, saying members of parliament were “all responsible adults” and “should act appropriately”. They were accountable to the Australian people for what they said and did.

Perin is seen as a loyal deputy to leader David Littleproud, who had no comment to make on the matter on Sunday. She contacted Littleproud as soon as a post on X went out about the incident. She declined to comment on their conversation.

Perin is in a battle for her preselection and some Nationals sources believe the incident might be being used against her in that context. “I hope that’s not right,” Perin said.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. Now it’s Nationals deputy leader Perin Davey who’s had a glass too many –