BILL Tilley says he would welcome a return to the senior ranks of government but not under Victorian Deputy Leader and Police Minister Peter Ryan.
The one-time second-in-charge to the Police Minister and member for Benambra says there is “too much history” between him and his former boss.
Mr Tilley was in the news yesterday with the release of taped telephone conversations between Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu’s most senior adviser Tony Nutt and former ministerial adviser Tristan Weston.
Mr Weston lost his job in the fallout from an OPI investigation that forced Mr Tilley to resign from his post as parliamentary secretary.
In the tapes Mr Nutt hinted at the prospect of a return to a frontbench role for Mr Tilley.
“Ted has deliberately left the parliamentary secretaryship vacant,” he said in the phone call on July 11, last year — nine months after Mr Tilley resigned.
“In due course, if this issue ever settles down, you know, I know that he’d like to give Bill another go.”
The offer came near the end of a call that began with Mr Nutt asking Mr Weston to try to stop Mr Tilley going on the Jon Faine radio program and criticising Nationals leader Mr Ryan.
The pair agreed to disagree over whether they discussed secret meetings with then assistant commissioner Sir Ken Jones.
The implication was it was a plot to undermine the head of police Simon Overland.
Mr Tilley, on his way to Parliament, said the tapes did not change his mind, nor did they damage his claims.
“I’m very comfortable with the developments,” he said.
“There is a growing body of evidence to suggest this was never a conspiracy, that we were not undermining Overland and that the evidence I gave under oath was the truth.
“If you are straight up, use simple language, then you don’t have to constantly think about what you said last time, if you lie you get caught.”
He would welcome a return to higher duties.
“My first responsibility is to the electorate of Benambra but if, at the discretion of the Premier of the day, I was asked to take on a more senior role then I would relish that challenge whatever the role,” he said.
“But, no, I couldn’t go back to the police role with Mr Ryan as the minister — that just wouldn’t be right.”
Mr Ryan and Mr Tilly tried to put their rift behind them in Wodonga last year. Click to watch the effusive display of solidarity.