“Do you think I’m corrupt?”
That’s what Camden State MP Chris Patterson asked me a little over two years ago a few minutes after we sat down to chat at a table just inside the door of the Backyard Café. It was not long after I started this blog and so he felt it was worth a catch-up.
My notes from that fairly genial meeting indicate we chatted about many other things, disagreed on some (the rise of independents as an electoral force and that the Liberals had actually performed below expectations in the 2016 election), agreed on others (the importance of maintaining the character of Camden township). But afterwards that question about corruption stuck in my mind. I couldn’t understand why it had even come up.
As I said to Chris then, I had no evidence and certainly wouldn’t go around making allegations about corruption without hard proof. The fact is, I doubt there is a single politician in the world that baseless gossip hasn’t labeled corrupt at some time but it isn't worth an inch of column space without solid gold evidence.
Since then, while there has certainly been no evidence of corruption, it is clear that Chris Patterson has been an arms length participant in the political games of Camden Council and played an important role in the politics of local Liberal branches.
But following the single nomination of Peter Sidgreaves for preselection as the Liberal candidate for the State seat of Camden, held with a 23% margin, that question around corruption is not one I could so easily dismiss today.