Political analyst Harry Phillips says Troy Buswell’s decision to quit politics was not unexpected, especially after the popular politician’s recent move to the backbenches.
Professor Phillips, who works at Edith Cowan University, said Mr Buswell’s announcement was “certainly something that was on the horizon”.
“Being on the backbench wasn’t really going to be something suitable for him,” Prof Phillips said.
“Once he’d been a senior minister and Leader of the Opposition and even prospective Premier.”
Mr Buswell, 48, was first elected to State parliament in 2005 and became Opposition Leader in 2008 before a string of controversies saw him replaced by current Premier Colin Barnett. He later had an affair with Greens MP Adele Carles.
More recently, he crashed into several cars in Subiaco and was fined for careless driving, failing to stop at a crash and failing to report an accident. He resigned as Transport Minister amid the fallout.
Professor Phillips said Mr Buswell had a reputation for being a very competent minister.
“I haven’t heard of many people who have been senior ministers in government get so many accolades as him, despite his unusual escapades,” he said.
Mr Buswell’s resignation will force the voters of Vasse, in WA’s South-West, to the polls for a by-election. Former Opposition Leader Matt Birney, who recently said he was looking to re-enter politics, is tipped to win pre-selection for the Liberal Party.
But Prof Phillips said Mr Birney would need to win over the region’s rank-and-file members.
“I think he could well represent a country or regional electorate but he doesn’t have the ready stamp of being a Vasse man at this point,” Prof Phillips said.
“Troy Buswell had grown up in that area. He was very much deemed to be a local boy.”
Busselton Mayor Ian Stubbs said on Twitter the Liberals should endorse a local candidate because the Vasse community didn’t want an outsider.
Professor Phillips said it was unfortunate Mr Buswell would be remembered for his misbehaviour, rather than his professional contribution.
“He will go down as someone who had all the capacities and his own personal problems sort of defeated him,” Prof Phillips said
“Those who have worked with him in government [know] his credentials and his contribution will be measured well. But publicly, these indiscretions will be something that will remain.