Buswell probe looks at hit-run

Taken away: Troy Buswell's government car. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

WA Police are investigating damage done to three parked cars on Barker Road and Olive Street in Subiaco early on Sunday, February 23 - the night Troy Buswell crashed his ministerial car after drinking at a wedding.

On Monday, police took statements from three people who reported hit-and-run damage to vehicles at the time.

Yesterday, police seized the white Holden Caprice from Mr Buswell's Roberts Road home that has been in his driveway since he went on personal leave on February 24.

They also collected evidence and took photographs and video.

The car has extensive damage to its front and damage to its passenger side, including a long scrape along the left rear door.

Police inquiries continue about what happened before Mr Buswell allegedly drove erratically on Roberts Road and into his front fence.

Questions also continue about what efforts Premier Colin Barnett and his office made to establish the facts around the former treasurer's breakdown that led to him taking sick leave.

In Parliament, Mr Barnett accused Mark McGowan of "sliming around Parliament with tactless, insensitive innuendo" after the Opposition asked questions about what various members of the Premier's, Treasurer's and Police Minister's staff had known.

Mr McGowan wanted to know if Mr Buswell's chief of staff Rachael Turnseck knew about the alleged traffic accident.

To the Premier he asked: "Wouldn't it have been reasonable to have asked about the circumstances surrounding his (Mr Buswell's) absence given your knowledge at that point in time?"

Mr Barnett replied: "Why would anyone, on a Monday morning, when the former treasurer's chief of staff comes to see me in person - just the two of us - visibly upset, telling me Troy had had a breakdown, that he would be absent, why would anyone go in or ask questions about other events?

"Why would you? My only concern, my only concern was for the Treasurer's welfare … Why would I then go into some sort of inquisition of what happened?"

Mr McGowan said: "It's a reasonable thing to ask."

Mr Barnett replied: "Certainly not. It is certainly not a reasonable thing to ask.

"It is not a reasonable thing when you are told a colleague and a friend has just broken down and his chief of staff is in tears in your office to start quizzing her. That is not what Australians do."

Mr Barnett has said he did not ask any questions about the circumstances of Mr Buswell's breakdown.

Mr Barnett said in question time that Ms Turnseck met Mr Barnett's chief of staff Brian Pontifex and senior adviser Narelle Cant on Tuesday, February 25, at 9am for 45 minutes.

Asked by The West Australian _if Mr Pontifex or Ms Cant asked about Mr Buswell's breakdown, a spokeswoman for the Premier said the focus of the meeting was to ensure Mr Buswell had the necessary medical attention and support. It also covered the likely duration of his absence and the handling of his portfolios.

Asked if he inquired about the circumstances of Mr Buswell's breakdown after the Premier notified him, Deputy Premier Kim Hames said: "The Premier advised me that Troy had suffered a breakdown and was not in a good way but was seeking treatment.

"Given's Troy request for privacy, I did not seek further information and kept this matter absolutely confidential.

"My primary concern was, and still is, for Troy's wellbeing."

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