‘Still Sitting, Smirking, on the Front Bench’
The hypocrisy after AWB is disgraceful
Caroline Overington writes in her blog in The Australian.
Two of John Howardâ€™s most senior colleagues, Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile, had ministerial responsibility for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the time of the Iraq kickback scandal. They admit that they were told and told – and told again – that AWB was up to its neck in corruption.
In March 2004, they got official advice from AWB itself that it had been using a Jordanian trucking company named Alia to move wheat around Iraq, and that some of that money might have been kicked on to Saddamâ€™s regime.
What did Downer and Vaile do about it? Nothing.
In the witness box at the Cole inquiry, Downer joked about it, saying that as Foreign Minister he didnâ€™t actually read all the important Foreign Ministry intelligence that came his way.
Vaile complained that he was snowed under.
Both are still sitting, smirking, on the front bench.
But Campbell? He had a totally legal, totally benign meeting with a creepy guy in a panama hat, and got it in the neck.
Comments on Overton’s blog are close to 100% in support of Rudd and there is nothing but anger and derision for Howard, which is surely extraordinary for readers of a right-leaning national newspaper.
“This is the sort of political games and dirty games howard played last election”
“Voters can think for themselves.”
“I must say it matters little to me (since Rudd took over the leadership) what Howard and his cronies do. Mr Rudd has won me over. He is intelligent, innovative, has guts and integrity.”
“Although the governmentâ€™s actions have been hypocritical, they come as no surprise as we are well used to such flaunted hypocrisy.”
Today’s Newspoll in The Australian shows Labor and Rudd still well ahead.
Preferred Prime Minister
Rudd: 62%, down 6
Howard: 42%, down 2
Rudd: 18%, up 5
Howard: 49%, up 3
Labor: 47%, up 1
Coalition: 37%, down 4
ALP: 57%, up 3
Coalition: 43%, down 3
It seems Graham got it right in his comment over at John Quiggin‘s blog yesterday that the voters have had enough of Howard and the way he does business and have seen through him this time. He writes:
Iâ€™m betting that Rudd and Burke will have minimal damage. And I think the rodentâ€™s response has worked against him. Becauseâ€¦
Rudd is polling well because people are desperate for someone who really can credibly replace Howard. They have been waiting for years. So they will forgive him. His indiscretion makes him less perfect and therefore more human, therefore more credible, and even (sorry Kevin) more like â€œone of usâ€. And if Australians generally thought, as is claimed, that the AWB scandal was a bit ho-hum, then talking to Burke is not nearly in that league.
On the other hand, Howardâ€™s ranting campaign is more of the same. People may be recognising echoes of another Tampa, another Children Overboard. But, and most importantly, I think especially people are realising that this is the true Howard who has hid himself away for a while and if they donâ€™t vote for Rudd theyâ€™re in for another arrogant, compassionless, condescending, heartless, sneering (even â€œun-Australianâ€) term of Howard, Costello, Downer, Ruddock and Abbott and I think a lot of people will realise they simply couldnâ€™t stand it.
On top of which, the treatment of Major Mori in the last 24 hours or so has confirmed for a lot of people the utter bastardry of this US administration (with which Howard identifies himself so closely) and the now obvious impossibility of Hicks getting a fair trial.
In any case, the harder and nastier Howard fights the worse it gets for him.
Or so I predict. And hope.
It seems we in the Department of Mateship and Fair Dinkum Aussie Values [ValuesAustralia] may actually have to consider our futures in more than a musing kind of way.
[tags]Rudd, Labor, Howard, Liberal, Newspoll, Burke, AWB, Iraq, Election, Australian Values, Tampa, children overboard, Downer, Vaile, Cole inquiry, Hicks, Mori[/tags]