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Mal Colston, Venal Politician, Labor Rat, Dead At 65

Mal Colston, the former Labor senator, whose name has become synonymous with politicians’ rorts, has died, aged 65.

ColstonColston was elected to the Senate in 1975 and sat as an undistinguished backbencher until 1999. He resigned from the ALP in 1997 after failing to secure nomination for the deputy presidency of the Senate. His vote gave John Howard the majority he needed to pass legislation to privatise Telstra.

Following his departure from the Senate following the 1998 election, Colston faced 28 charges relating to travel rorts. On medical advice that he had only months to live, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the charges in 1999.

There have been intermittent calls for the charges to be reinstated, but two weeks ago the current DPP, Damian Bugg QC, said Colston’s condition was deteriorating and no further charges would be brought. Colston reportedly had cancer of the bile duct. [Read more…]

Howard Signals Intention To Accept Colston’s Vote

John Howard yesterday indicated that the government has decided to abandon its previous policy of not accepting the vote of renegade Labor Senator Mal Colston.

The 'venal prick'Colston’s support is crucial if the government is to get its GST legislation through the Senate by the end of next June.

Colston defected from the Labor Party in 1996. He had been denied ALP nomination for Deputy President of the Senate. Following his resignation from the ALP, he was elected Deputy President with the support of the coalition parties. Later, he was forced to resign the position after allegations of irregularities in his travel expenses and other allowances.

The government at that stage had 37 senators, 2 short of the majority needed to pass legislation. Colston and Tasmanian independent Senator Brian Harradine were enough to give the government a Senate majority. This support was crucial on legislation such as the Wik amendments in July 1998. Similarly, Colston’s opposition to the sale of the remaining two-thirds of Telstra destroyed that piece of legislation. [Read more…]