State treasurer Troy Buswell will have much on his mind in the week of the State election, with his $3 million defamation case against his former lover and independent MP Adele Carles listed in court three days before the poll.
Despite Premier Colin Barnett making it clear he would prefer his senior lieutenant to settle the dispute out of court, Mr Buswell and his legal team are ploughing on with their action against Ms Carles, the member for Fremantle.
Mr Buswell seems determined to seek legal recourse to embarrassing allegations levelled against him by Ms Carles in a series of interviews, press conferences and social media posts late last year.
And after an offer from Ms Carles’ lawyer to settle was turned down, the case has now been listed for a first hearing in the WA Supreme Court on March 6.
The State election is being held on March 9.
If the case goes ahead, it will be an unwanted distraction for both Mr Buswell and Ms Carles, who is facing a huge battle to hold her seat.
The court action was sparked after Ms Carles claimed in a newspaper article that Mr Buswell had been drunk and and behaved inappropriately towards seafood empire boss Nick Kailis at a 2011 Christmas party.
After sending a series a series of highly personal tweets about Mr Buswell, which have since been deleted, Ms Carles went on to claim further drunken behaviour in March had been the final straw in their relationship.
At a press conference she revealed further personal details of their relationship, going as far as producing a card sent to her by Mr Buswell pleading for a reconciliation.
Lawyers for the state treasurer filed a defamation writ against Ms Carles soon after, seeking aggravated damages from the former Greens MP as well as a “permanent injunction” against her.
The writ alleges Ms Carles defamed Mr Buswell a total of nine times in interviews with various Perth media outlets, and on Twitter.
It seeks damages, aggravated damages, and interest on the damages. The writ also aimed to silence Ms Carles.
“A permanent injunction restraining the defendant from repeating the defamatory comments or words similar thereto“, is the third claim on the writ.
It is the latest instalment in a long line of embarrassments that have dogged Mr Buswell’s political career.
He was forced to resign as treasurer in 2010 amid allegations he misused entitlements during his affair with one-time Greens MP Carles, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
In 2008 Mr Buswell stood down as WA Liberal leader - paving the way for Mr Barnett - following allegations of lewd conduct.
A tearful Mr Buswell at that time admitted sniffing the chair of a female Liberal staffer and snapping a Labor staffer’s bra, antics for which he is known across the country.