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Former WA treasurer Troy Buswell pleads guilty to assaulting his wife on various occasions

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Disgraced politician infamous for sniffing a female staffer’s chair pleads guilty to bashing and kicking his ex-wife while wearing cowboy boots

  • Troy Buswell pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-wife Melissa Hankinson 
  • Former WA treasurer had denied allegations before guilty plea on Wednesday
  • On one occasion Buswell repeatedly kicked his wife in ribs, backside and legs
  • Buswell infamously admitted to sniffing a female staffer’s chair in 2005 


A disgraced politician has pleaded guilty to beating his ex-wife throughout years of their abusive marriage.

Former Western Australian treasurer and Liberal leader Troy Buswell initially denied the allegations made by Melissa Hankinson, 46.

His case was due to resume in the Perth Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning after a nine-month adjournment before Buswell indicated he would plead guilty to three of the six charges against him.

Former West Australian treasurer and Liberal leader Troy Buswell has pleaded guilty to physically assaulting his ex-wife throughout years of their marriage

Former West Australian treasurer and Liberal leader Troy Buswell has pleaded guilty to physically assaulting his ex-wife throughout years of their marriage

Buswell initially denied the allegations made by his ex-wife Melissa Hankinson, 46 (right)

Buswell initially denied the allegations made by his ex-wife Melissa Hankinson, 46 (right)

The 55-year-old admitted to two counts of aggravated common assault and one count of aggravated common assault occasioning bodily harm.

The other three charges were dropped.

Buswell infamously admitted to sniffing the chair of Liberal Party staffer Karry Smith in 2005.

He played the accusation off as a rumour for years before saying the events were ‘accurate’ in 2008. 

Ms Hankinson said during the trial that the first attack was after an AFL game in 2015 where Buswell pushed her out the door, causing her to fall on her backside, having become angry she was smoking, the West Australian reported.

‘The more he drank, the more nasty he would become,’ she told the court.

Then on Valentine’s Day the following year, Buswell smacked Ms Hankinson with a slotted spoon.

Buswell admitted to two counts of aggravated common assault and one count of aggravated common assault occasioning bodily harm

Buswell admitted to two counts of aggravated common assault and one count of aggravated common assault occasioning bodily harm

Just two weeks later, the pair were on their way home from a party when Buswell started kicking his wife in the taxi while wearing cowboy boots.

When they arrived at his mother’s home where they were staying for the night, the former politician shoved Ms Hankinson in the face causing her to fall backwards.

He then repeatedly kicked her in her backside, legs, and ribs while she writhed in pain on the floor. They were married weeks later until they split in 2019.

Buswell’s barrister earlier said Ms Hankinson’s allegations were ‘a vindictive act of revenge’ and argued any bruises she suffered were from drunken falls.

The former Liberal leader will be sentenced in April and faces up to three years behind bars. 

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