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Jeff Kennett slams violent Labor MP Will Fowles for using mental health ‘excuse’

Former Beyond Blue chairman Jeff Kennett says the manner in which disgraced Labor MP Will Fowles has used mental health as an excuse for his violent behaviour is “unacceptable”.

Mr Fowles has taken leave after he caused significant damage to a Canberra hotel in a fit of rage, forcing other patrons to be locked outside for their own safety.

In apologising, Mr Fowles said “I have for a long time been dealing with addiction and other mental health issues”.

Former Premier Mr Kennett has told Neil Mitchell he does not believe Mr Fowles should be sacked.

But he condemned the mention of mental health issues.

“Mental health does not lead to acts of violence, criminality or anti-social behaviour, in a majority of cases,” Mr Kennett said.

“Alcohol and drugs do, but not mental health.

“I think this is an unacceptable use of mental health as an issue.”

Neil Mitchell: Are you saying he’s using it as an excuse?

Mr Kennett: Oh yes, that’s right.

“People should understand,” Mr Kennett went on, “that I’ve been arguing that this popularisation of mental health illnesses when people are caught behaving anti-socially has been going on for some time.”

Mr Kennett said Mr Fowles had been warned about “issues in parliament” around “anti-social behaviour” in the past.

Click PLAY to hear Jeff Kennett’s full comments