‘Does one error mean a career is over forever?’: Tim Smith’s press conference analysed

Victorian MP Tim Smith addressed a press pack on Wednesday afternoon to defend his frayed reputation, in a dramatic first appearance since he crashed his Jaguar into the side of a family home after drinking “quite a few glasses of wine”.

Here are the most memorable quotes from the hour-long press conference.

“I’m not unwell, I’m an idiot … I’ve spoken to my GP, and the advice I got is: ‘you’re not mentally unwell, you’re just an idiot’.”

  • Mr Smith made this comment, saying he would not make excuses for himself, after being asked whether he was an alcoholic or had mental health issues.

“Recollections may differ … I’m not going to undermine the sanctity of a private conversation.”

  • The Kew MP was repeatedly asked whether he was undermining the leadership of Opposition Leader Matthew Guy by refusing to rule out running for preselection. He went on to say that recollections of their conversations may differ.

“Does one error mean a career is over forever? … Is this error of judgment that I’ve made, this enormous, terrible thing that I’ve done, this selfish act, is that worthy of losing my entire career? … I think all of us in life genuinely do deserve a second chance.”

  • Mr Smith said he would consider whether his drink-driving crash was significant enough that he should leave Parliament, and asked for forgiveness.

“Politicians, from time to time, call on each other to resign.”

  • He is known for being the opposition’s attack dog and has repeatedly called on others to resign. On Wednesday the MP said this was just part of the hyperbole of politics.

Tim Smith faces the media on Wednesday.Credit:Justn McManus

“Put it this way, I’m not going to be on the frontbench in the next 12 months, that’s absolutely true.”

  • This comment was in direct reference of Mr Guy’s “unequivocal” position that Mr Smith would never be welcomed back to the front bench under a party he leads. The Opposition Leader said on Tuesday that Mr Smith should not nominate for the seat of Kew or in any electorate ahead of the next election, which is 12 months away.

“Matthew Guy is a great guy, he’s my friend, I love the guy.”

  • Mr Smith has been one of the Opposition Leader’s closest allies and moved the spill motion that returned Mr Guy to the Liberal leadership. But on Wednesday he was asked if that friendship was intact.

“We did apologise to the family … there were a number of people there on my behalf on the evening … Caroline from my office was there, she lives not far away … There was apologies made on the evening, made by people on my behalf, I apologised on Sunday morning.”

  • It was also revealed in the press conference that one of Mr Smith’s staff members attended the crash scene on Saturday night and apologised, on the MP’s behalf, to the family of the home his car crashed into. He apologised to the family by phone a day later.

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