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Theo Charles Theophanous (born 16 June 1948 in Paphos, Cyprus) is a former Australian politician who served in the Victorian Legislative Council representing the Northern Metropolitan Region. He is the brother of former federal politician Andrew Theophanous. Before entering parliament he was active in Australian Labor Party (ALP) politics in the federal electorate of Batman and the then City of Northcote.[1] He was also active in the Socialist Left faction Victorian ALP[2] but was later expelled from that faction. He then formed the Labor Renewal Alliance (LRA) with support from Greek and Lebanese branches, which allied itself with and eventually merged with the Labor Unity or Right faction.

In 1995 he was a candidate for ALP preselection for the seat of Batman for the 1996 Federal election but withdrew due to great pressure from within the party for the preselection to be given to then Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Martin Ferguson. There was even the possibilty that even if Theophanus had beaten Ferguson in the preselection, the Federal Executive would overturn Theophanus' preselection and give it to Ferguson.

Theophanus' withdrawal from the Batman preselection meant that he was not able to join his brother Andrew in Federal Parliament. Ironically Martin Ferguson joined his own brother Laurie Ferguson in Federal Parliament.

Before the reforms to the Legislative Council that introduced proportional representation, Theophanous served from 1988 to 2006 as one of the two members for Jika Jika[3] and served as leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council from 1993 until 1999.

Despite his experience and the fact he was leader of the ALP in the Legislative Council, Theophanous did not enter cabinet with the election of the Bracks government in 1999.[4] This did not occur until after the 2002 election when he was given the Energy Industries and Resources portfolios.[4]


Resignation from Cabinet

Theophanous served as Minister for Industry and State Development,[4] Minister for Major Projects[4] and as Minister for Small Business,[4] before stepping down 'temporarily' on 14 October 2008, following revelations he was being investigated by police for the alleged rape of a woman in 1998.[5][6]

On 24 December 2008, Theophanous resigned from his ministerial positions due to pending court proceedings on a charge of rape.[7] On 24 July 2009, the rape charge against him was dismissed after the magistrate ruled that the evidence against him was not sufficient to commit him to trial; describing the complainant's evidence as "unreliable".[8]

After his accuser moved to Greece, Theophanous subsequently pursued charges of criminal defamation against the complainant in an Athens court. The court found the complainant guilty and an appeal has been filed as of October 2010.[9]

Resignation from Parliament

Theophanous announced his resignation from Parliament on 23 February 2010, effective as of 26 February 2010.[10]

Press Council of Australia adjudication

Theophanous decided not to pursue legal action against The Age over what he believed were unfair news articles arising out of an alleged conflict of interest friendship between the journalist and the complainant. Theophanous sought an adjudication from the Australia Press Council and those findings were made public on their official website on 30 July 2010 [11] and in a full page spread article by the Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.[12] This was followed by an update letter from Theophanous published by the VexNews website. [13]

References

^ Theo Charles Theophanous (1988), 'The Changing Nature of Greek Involvement in Australian Politics', in A. Kapardis and A. Tamis (eds.), Afstraliotes Hellenes: Greeks in Australia, River Seine Press, Melbourne, pp.231-244 ISBN 0909367310
^ Ernest Healy (1993), 'Ethnic ALP Branches - The Balkanisation of Labor,' in People and Place, Vol.1, No.4, Page 40
^ Parliament of Victoria Members Database
^ a b c d e Parliament of Victoria Minister's Database
^ Brumby stunned over Theophanous 'rape probe' allegations
^ Opposition probe on Theophanous scandal
^ Theo Theophanous, minister on rape charge resigns
^ Theophanous will not stand trial for rape
^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/29/3051586.htm Theophanous claims court victory
^ Theophanous resigns from Parliament, ABC, 23 February 2010
^ Council, Australia Press (30 July 2010). "Australia Press Council July Adjudications". Retrieved 30 July 2010.
^ Bolt, Andrew (30 July 2010). "Story Shame for The Age". Retrieved 30 July 2010.
^ Landerou, Andrew (30 July 2010). "Damned The Age Condemned by Press Council". Retrieved 30 July 2010.

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