His sacking came soon after Buchholz had caught a headline or two when his office told frontbencher Kelly O’Dwyer, then a new mother, to express more milk so her breastfeeding didn’t get in the way of her parliamentary duties.
And now, having (amazingly) reached the heady heights of Assistant Minister for Roads, it emerges that Buchholz indulged in a spot of «inappropriate behaviour» last year that offended a female RAAF member to the point she made an official complaint.
The self-described idiot — which is saying something for an LNP MP from Queensland — hadn’t described at the time of writing the nature of his «inappropriate behaviour».
Could he have offended the RAAF officer by requesting red wine with a fish dish in the mess tent?
We barely dare imagine.
The idiot’s unspecified inappropriate conduct occurred when he was on a parliamentary exchange in the Northern Territory, a place where «inappropriate» has a different meaning than just about anywhere else in the world.
Why, the local newspaper famously won a Walkley Award for a 2012 headline – «Why I Stuck a Cracker Up My Clacker» – that almost seven years later is remembered globally for its celebration of hijinks likely to be performed exclusively in the Northern Territory. The headline was accompanied by a picture of the cracker lad merrily chugging a beer with a live python wrapped around the bottle.
Lest you imagine that was unusual behaviour by an idiot from the NT, we recall that the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party senator Nigel Scullion once took considerable delight in describing a night out at a Russian strip club, where he ended up dressed only in his underpants and handcuffed to a dancers’ pole.
Inappropriate? Not a bit of it.
«It was a terrific night, it really was,» Scullion said later. «If you ever get an offer to go drinking with Icelandic whalers and Canadian crab fishermen, take them up on it.»
So what grotesque level of «inappropriate» foolery might Buchholz have achieved to earn a complaint from an RAAF officer, followed by a grovelling apology complete with the self-description of idiocy?
Whatever it was, it occurred when he was supposed to be attending a military exercise called «Operation Pitch Black» — no, really — where he also managed to offend his military hosts by skipping part of the event to attend the Darwin races.
A couple of weeks later, the latest Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, elevated Buchholz to the position of Assistant Minister of Roads.
In regular times, Morrison would be advising Buchholz to hit the road about now.
But there’s nothing currently regular about political standards or conventions.
Why, Morrison is actually defending another of his colleagues, Tim Wilson, for hijacking a parliamentary committee’s taxpayer-funded public hearings in the partisan cause of attacking Labor’s proposals on franking credits for retirees.
With a difficult election campaign on the way, inappropriate conduct is, apparently, forgivable. And idiocy?
Nothing new there.
Tony Wright is the associate editor and special writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.