The new Big Kev

Finally, signs the fed ALP has got tired of kicking each other in the gonads and started to apply the boot, more appropriately, to some government groins. Most of the work, admittedly, has been done for them by the government itself being grossly incompetent and arrogant, with plenty of help from the Cole Inquiry and the media. It was heartening to see Kevin Rudd getting fired up and actually saying something on Lateline last night.

But John Howard just plays word games. John Howard is a spin doctor, he's not a leader when it comes to these matters at all. He's concerned about his short-term political gain, not the long-term national interest of getting to the truth of how this $300 million wheat for weapons scandal came about . . . And when I saw him on television tonight proclaiming to the nation, looking deadly serious, looking like his best Winston Churchill look-a-like facing saying, "I believe that this demonstrates that we have a thoroughly transparent process, and we're interested in getting to the truth of this matter." Well, pigs might fly.

And if we can forgive Big Kev for being a tad repetitive, there's more.

When is the country going to wake up to the fact that this PM simply spin doctors his way around any problem which presents itself to him? He did it through children overboard. He did it through pre-war intelligence on Iraq. He's trying to do it now on this $300 million wheat for weapons scandal. That's this PM's stock and trade. I've got to say it's not the hallmark of leadership, it's the hallmark of a first-class spin doctor trying to wriggle his way out of basic accountability for the biggest corruption scandal in Australia's history, producing the biggest source of illegal foreign funding to Saddam Hussein's regime. A country which the PM then happily took us to war against a little time later.

As pleasing as this is, we need more. We know the government has set up the inquiry to avoid any question of its own negligence or illegal activity. We know no ministers will resign because the government has trashed the concept of ministerial responsibility. We know a good majority of people already don't believe the government's story. We need public embarrassment and lots more of it. We can only hope the ALP's up to it.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Josh says:

    Greg Craven writes in today's Fin (subscription required) that Labor's tactics are off because they're not asking the right question. The government knows it will get away with it because there's no hard evidence any senior ministers knew what was going on, therefore nobody needs to be sacked. But there's the issue of not wanting to know, which is the government's standard response to anything nasty. So Craven says the question to ask is:

    In a constitutional system of ministerial responsibility: how can nobody be responsible for an epic disaster so damaging to our international reputation?

    In answering that question, he concludes, ignorance is almost as frightening as conspiracy.

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