The Age Saturday 18 September 2004

Two strikes, she's out: MP dumped

By Darren Gray
State Editor
Carolyn Hirsh
Picture:Craig Abraham

An angry Victorian Premier Steve Bracks yesterday dumped Government MP Carolyn Hirsh and told her to quit the Labor Party after she was caught by police driving while disqualified.

Ms Hirsh was pulled over about noon. In addition to driving while disqualified, the car she was driving did not have a registration sticker displayed.

The disgraced MP's licence is suspended because of a drink-driving offence this year. On her way home late at night in June from a Labor function, Ms Hirsh blew .07 when breath-tested. Her licence was suspended for six months.

In a statement released last night, Mr Bracks said it was anticipated Ms Hirsh, 67, would be charged on summons over yesterday's incident.

"Carolyn Hirsh should have learnt her lesson when her licence was suspended for drink-driving earlier this year," he said.

"To be driving a car and failing to display current registration while disqualified are serious matters. I have late this afternoon spoken to Carolyn Hirsh and told her she must resign from the Labor Party."

The statement from Mr Bracks' office said Ms Hirsh had told the Premier she would quit the party. Mr Bracks said there was no room in the Labor Party for people who had so openly flouted the law.

It is believed Ms Hirsh does not own the vehicle she was driving yesterday. It is believed she was photographed at the scene by police to confirm her identity.

When caught drink-driving mid-year, a teary Ms Hirsh labelled herself a "bloody idiot" and resigned as chairwoman of State Parliament's Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee.

Ms Hirsh is an upper house member for Silvan, the same electorate represented by Liberal MP Andrew Olexander.

Mr Olexander hit the headlines less than six weeks after Ms Hirsh first did when he lost control of his car and crashed into three parked cars about 5am one Sunday.

Mr Olexander was significantly over the .05 per cent limit at the time and could face a damage bill of $100,000. He resigned as Opposition spokesman for arts, consumer affairs and youth issues.

Ms Hirsh was elected to State Parliament in 1985 and served until 1992. She was re-elected to the upper house in the Bracks Government's 2002 victory.

Ms Hirsh could not be contacted last night.