Federal Victorian Labor MP Greg Wilton will appear in the Geelong
Magistrates Court tomorrow after being found in his car in a distressed
state with his young children on a lonely country road.
Mr Wilton, 44, right, who holds the south-eastern suburbs seat of Isaacs,
was taken to a psychiatric hospital after the incident in the You Yangs
National Park on Friday night.
He was arrested by police because he allegedly breached an intervention
order and will appear in court for that reason.
He was taken to the Swanston Centre psychiatric unit at Geelong Hospital,
accompanied by state Labor Party president Greg Sword and state party
secretary David Feeney, where he was admitted.
Police said the children, aged three and five, had been “at risk”, but it
is believed they were not harmed.
A police spokeswoman said a witness, believed to be a ranger, found a man
and two children in a car. “A boy and a girl, both aged under five, were in
the car. They were taken from him and police believe the two may have been
at risk,” she said.
Police confirmed a man in his forties from Malvern was arrested on Great
Circle Drive after Lara police were called at 4pm on Friday.
The children were reunited with their mother at the Geelong Police Station.
Mr Wilton and his wife recently separated. It is believed she asked him to
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley yesterday said he was aware of the incident.
“Thank God all are alive,” he said.
“He is very much in our thoughts and prayers, and so are his children at
Victorian Labor figures yesterday said they were in shock. “It’s
devastating,” one said.
Party figures also said Mr Wilton’s political career was “finished.”
Mr Wilton, a former union official who entered Federal Parliament in 1996,
is the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives economics committee.
In October 1997, Tasmanian Labor frontbencher Senator Nick Sherry attempted
suicide in his Canberra flat amid the travel rorts controversy.
He has since resumed his parliamentary duties.
More on Greg Wilton…
Beazely is taking the help/support approach (and that is needed and
part of ‘it’) but appears to be neglecting (at least publically) the
structural and systemic issues of bias, and the fact that most men
realise when dumping/separation comes that they will be the losers
(no home, no children, and massive dipping into assets and income –
and the depression that can lead to.
Write to him and let him know this and ask him to work for fairness
for fathers and children too. (Best to send a letter to the
electorate office – it is more personal and is taken more seriously,
Contact Kim Beazley at:
1/18 Council Avenue
Rockingham WA 6168
Tel: (08) 9527 9377
Free call: 1800 016 023
Fax: (08) 9592 1361
Parliament House Contact
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8495
31 May 2000
Beazley tells his stressed MPs to confide in mates
By Tony Wright, Chief Political Correspondent Canberra
They work long hours, spend much of the year parted from their
families, many can’t look beyond the next election for job
security … and sometimes they crack.
Kim Beazley, shocked by the case of one of his backbenchers, Greg
Wilton, who was admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the weekend
after being found in a distressed state in his car, now wants his
Labor colleagues to reach out to each other.
The Opposition Leader told his Senators and MPs that, in the absence
of formal counselling services, anyone having problems should at
least discuss them with other members of the ALP caucus.
Meanwhile, he has asked the party organisation to explore stress-
counselling for Labor MPs.
In an extraordinarily frank address, Mr Beazley said everyone
was “deeply disturbed” at what had happened to Mr Wilton, the member
for Isaacs in Melbourne’s south-east. It was, said Mr Beazley, “a
reminder of the stress we work under”.
Politicians worked in a “gossipy hothouse, a very competitive
environment”, a party spokesman quoted him as saying.
Politics had proved to be the nation’s worst profession for marriage
Marital collapse was 30 per cent higher among politicians than for
the rest of the community, Mr Beazley contended.
Although his office could not point to official statistics, a glance
around Parliament House appears to confirm the claim. The benches are
peppered with MPs and Senators who have separated or divorced.
Many backbenchers pool their travelling allowance and share pokey
apartments during parliamentary sittings in Canberra. Stress relief
for some is the nearest bar or a late-night restaurant dinner, and
family contact is by telephone and e-mail.
But the idea of “reaching out” to colleagues doesn’t impress some
MPs. One told The Age: “The question is, who among your colleagues
could you trust?”
Despite all the stress of political life, no formal stress
counselling is available to the parliamentarians as there is in many
other professions, Mr Beazley said.
So concerned was he, that he had opened discussions with ALP national
secretary Geoff Walsh to explore options for providing consulting
services to Labor MPs and senators needing help.
Mr Wilton remains under medical supervision.