Tuesday, November 28, 2006

what we don't know can't hurt us, or, "do the AWB jig with me....."

Matt Price of The Australian has put the Cole Commission findings to punters on his blog. Matty thinks the fallout will be minimal (his ruminations are invariably soaked in the spirit of Aussie apathy, which may mean he is an accurate weather vane!). By contrast, I live in hope!

Click here to read Cole's report for yourself.

The responses to Price's blog piece suggest the apoplectic, self-righteous calls by Howard, Downer et al for apologies from Labor have gone down like a lead balloon. They will not escape opprobrium over this scandal, and neither should they. Following is a few offerings from the punters:

"Was it Harry S.Truman that said: “The buck stops here”? Well, I think that the current leaders of our country should be totally ashamed of the gross bumbling, incompetent manner in which they are supposed to run their various departments. For Mr Cole to absolve all the various department heads and other minors from any “knowledge” beggars belief, and for ministers to blandly state that they were “unaware” of any wrongdoings is akin to the ostrich sticking its head in the sand… or should that be wheat? Let me bring out that slogan from the early 1970s: “It’s time”."

"Gross incompetence; “no one told me” excuse yet again! Downer, Vaile and their senior staff should be sacked; but, as always, Howard will be too weak to do anything."

"Has Cole now validated the contemporary political version of “need to know”? In our bastardisation of the Westminster system, mandarins now exist to ensure ministers only hear good news—or bad news that plays well with the electorate.
One assumes the sub-mandarins have adopted the same ethos, and by the next decade the only reliable source of information will be the filing clerk."

"I think, Jill Courtney, the only DFAT public servant to openly admit that Alia was a name she knew, summed it up when she stated that under the Howard Government “any dissent was not tolerated”. However, under the previous Labor government, public servants were “basically encouraged to disagree and to speak their mind”. Says volumes on how this government has politicised the public service and therefore is never held accountable. Ministerial responsibility—a cornerstone of our democracy—does not exist under the Howard Government, which is to our detriment."

"How do the government ministers involved have the gall to draw their pay?

"The Government has a habit of denying any wrongdoing. That is what you get when the front bench is loaded to the hilt with lawyers.
No responsibility - “It was the fault of a staffer”.
No accountability “How much can I get away with?”

Which all leads to a Government permanently in denial and never admitting to any error nor offering any apology for any wrongdoing no matter how bleedin’ obvious. "

Nicholson in The Australian

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