Federal Minister for Ageing Santo Santoro has resigned from the Howard ministry over a share scandal.
He told reporters he had written to Prime Minister John Howard tendering his resignation.
The senator had failed to immediately sell off stocks in a biotechnology company after being appointed to his health-related portfolio in 2006.
Mr Howard earlier this week refused to sack Senator Santoro, saying the Queenslander had alerted him as soon as the error was realised, and that he had donated the profit from the shares to a charity.
Michelle Gratton follows up with an editorial about casting the first stone:
But the public saw the Coalition was making a meal out of a modest snack (which in a bizarre twist, cost the Government a minister, Ian Campbell).
Equally, voters sensed that Rudd was glossing things a bit. In the Nielsen poll, only 24 per cent thought he had been completely truthful about his meetings; 53 per cent said he'd been partly truthful, and 10 per cent said he hadn't told the truth at all. But — and this is important — 83 per cent said learning of Rudd's meetings made no difference to their opinion of him.
In other words, people thought Rudd was being less than frank, but they put the meetings in context, decided they didn't amount to much, so were happy to overlook them. From what we know, this seems a balanced call.