Troy Buswell is in the news again, this time over alleged hush money paid to a woman whose car he smashed into on that notorious night of drunkenness several months ago. Yet again, Premier Colin Barnett is exasperated by his friend's behaviour.

This time he's even come out and directly criticized the decision to offer the woman money. He's also expressed his frustration over the fact that Buswell hasn't personally paid for the damage to his ministerial car.

This ambivalent reaction is typical. It seems that every time Buswell screws up Barnett defends the former treasurer, asking for understanding or tolerance, when he's obviously mad as hell about the trouble he causes. Clear in Barnett's reaction to these scandals is a sense that he really cares about the younger, scandal prone -- but apparently very bright -- politician. In a way he's a bit like an older brother to him.

The strange dynamics of their relationship are a bit like those operating between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Barnett is like the older, aloof, more assured Martin. And Buswell resembles the chaotic, exuberant Lewis.

I recall from some of their movies that characters played by Lewis were always getting into scrapes that the far more patient and cool Martin had to extricate him from -- although I'm not sure Lewis ever did anything as dangerously stupid as driving home drunk as a lord and leaving a long trail of real and ultimately political wreckage behind him!