Disgraced Victoria MP Tim Smith speaks out about drink-driving scandal

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Disgraced MP Tim Smith has broken his silence over his drink driving scandal in an interview asking for forgiveness, where he blamed his high level of intoxication on the lack of food he had during the day.

The Liberal MP resigned from his senior post with the Victorian state opposition on Sunday after he was caught driving almost three times over the legal limit, crashing into another car and a fence.

Disgraced MP Tim Smith has broken his silence over his drink driving scandal in an interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Wednesday morning

Disgraced MP Tim Smith has broken his silence over his drink driving scandal in an interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Wednesday morning

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According to Victoria Police, Mr Smith’s vehicle collided with another car before smashing into a fence on Power Street in Hawthorn, in Melbourne’s inner east, about 8.55pm on Saturday.

The 38-year-old was taken to the police station, where he blew a 0.131 alcohol reading – far higher than the 0.05 legal limit.

In a 25 minute interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Wednesday morning, Mr Smith apologised ‘profusely’ for his actions.

He also claimed that he had spoken to his doctor about giving up alcohol while still in the public eye.

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‘I’m so so so sorry for the embarrassment and harm that I have caused my family, my party, my leader, it was an appalling lapse of judgement and I’m just so incredibly sorry for what I’ve done…’ the MP said.

‘I certainly spoke to my GP about not ever drinking again, certainly whilst in public life and I give you that undertaking.

When Mr Mitchell questioned whether the disgraced MP was an alcoholic, Mr Smith rejected the idea, but admitted he had consumed too much alcohol on several occasions, which led to conversations with his GP.

Mr Smith also blamed his high alcohol reading of 0.131 on the lack of food he had eaten during the day and didn’t think he would have been over the legal limit.

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‘I hadn’t eaten much all day so as a consequence I blew much more than I ever thought I had consumed.’

Mr Smith 'profusely' apologised for his actions and claimed he had spoken to his doctor about giving up alcohol while still in the public eye (Pictured: Mr Smith's car embedded in a metal fence after he crashed in Melbourne's inner east on Saturday night while drink driving)

Mr Smith ‘profusely’ apologised for his actions and claimed he had spoken to his doctor about giving up alcohol while still in the public eye (Pictured: Mr Smith’s car embedded in a metal fence after he crashed in Melbourne’s inner east on Saturday night while drink driving)

‘I obviously knew I’d consumed alcohol but I genuinely thought I was [under the limit], certainly not to the extent it turned out to be,’ he added.

Mr Smith mentioned that he had been drinking at his friend’s house for a ‘couple of hours’ and only consumed a ‘few glasses of wine’.

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‘But a few isn’t 0.13. That’s a few bottles,’ the radio host said.

Mr Smith strongly fought back against Mr Mitchell’s comment and said: ‘I certainly didn’t have a few bottles, I’m sorry. I certainly didn’t have a few bottles.’

However, the MP agreed that his high reading was more than a couple of glasses of wine.

When asked about what caused the crash, Mr Smith said as he was driving down the hill of the street, a driver in front of him suddenly braked and he had to ‘swerve’ to miss the vehicle and that resulted in the MP ‘clipping’ the other car and crashing into the fence.

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Mr Smith also rubbished reports that he attempted to leave the scene and stated he tried to reverse his car away from the fence.

Mr Smith blamed his high alcohol reading of 0.131 on the lack of food he had eaten during the day and didn’t think he would have been over the legal limit

Mr Smith blamed his high alcohol reading of 0.131 on the lack of food he had eaten during the day and didn’t think he would have been over the legal limit

The MP also stood by his initial statement that mentioned he had returned a breath test, which was almost three times over the legal limit, but never stated that he had crashed.

‘I’m sorry that the statement in your mind didn’t seem to indicate the seriousness of the situation,’ Mr Smith said.

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‘The honest answer is I was in deep shock … I put out a statement that I thought was, well nothing I said in that statement was untruthful.

‘I’m sorry if that was tricky … I just put out the statement again to apologise for my behaviour,’ he added.

During the interview, Mr Smith was grilled over previous comments he had made about Labor MP Will Fowles, who damaged a hotel door in 2018 in Canberra while intoxicated.

‘I said a few things about Will that had I known probably better his mental state of affairs, I probably wouldn’t have said them,’ Mr Smith said.

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‘You’ve got every right to call me a hypocrite for those comments.’

Mr Smith also added that he did not have a mental illness and didn’t intend to ‘play the mental health card’, and that his incident has taught him many lessons about understanding others’ situations.

The disgraced MP said he was reflecting on his position and has not decided whether he will run for pre-selection for his seat of Kew and try to save his political career.

‘I’m certainly asking other people their thoughts on that at the moment. I’m asking my branch members in Kew what their thoughts are, I’m asking what my family’s thoughts are, I’m asking an array of different people who have been around in life a lot longer than me whether or not this cataclysmic error and profound moral failure should end my career.’

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The disgraced MP said he was reflecting on his position and has not decided whether he will run for pre-selection for his seat of Kew and try to save his political career

The disgraced MP said he was reflecting on his position and has not decided whether he will run for pre-selection for his seat of Kew and try to save his political career

Mr Smith also denied that he was ‘acting like a suicide bomber’ and ruining opposition leader Matthew Guy’s chances of claiming victory in an election if he chose to seek pre-selection.

‘I don’t think that’s how the members in Kew are looking at it.’

‘They’re very disappointed, they’re very angry and I suppose the key question for them … is should one horrendously poor judgement render someone’s career over immediately?’

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Matthew’s given me some very strong advice with regards to my life and my future, and I’m reflecting on that and discussing that with the 300 or so branch members in Kew,’ he added.

Mr Smith said he will spend the next two weeks reflecting on various things and will make a decision on his next step ‘accordingly’.

‘Look, this is the most embarrassing, stupid, pathetic thing that I’ve ever done. I’m asking people to forgive me as a human being,’ the MP said.

‘I simply ask for forgiveness and hope that people will realise I’ll learn from this and never do it again.’

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Mr Smith was promoted to the position of Shadow Attorney-General in September after Matthew Guy took over the leadership of the opposition party in a spill.

Before that, he was shadow planning minister. 

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