Another illuminating week just out of the way in Canberra. Not only were all the grand schemes and stratagems on display but they were fearlessly probed.
Enter number one interrogator Alan “Dunny” Jones on 2GB, who had Little Johnnie in the box the morning after the big police swoops that thwarted a major terrorism “catastrophe”. Talk about blow-torch to the tum-tum, Dunny had Johnnie with his back to the wall:
“I must say on behalf of my listeners that I do want to congratulate you, they would want me to do that, on acting in the national interest. And I have to say being much more patient than we would be in the face of the persistent critics. It’s no joy though to know that you were right.”
To make matters more ferocious Dunny was armed with some terrific research:
“See Bruce rang, I think it was Bruce rang, could you just listen to this for one minute because I think he’s saying something here. Bruce rang, as a representative sample, I mean the boards were full this morning of people wanting to talk, and I found them all very fair and very even-headed about it all, but Bruce said this…”
It turned out that Bruce reckoned:
“Gang rape, gang bashing” [had been in the media for years, so it was just pure hypocrisy to say] ‘oh terrorism in Lakemba and that’, as if this is something new.”
The chardonnay quaffing elites who dominate the debate simply hadn’t made the connection between crime and terrorism.
The PM of course was in substantial agreement with Bruce and Dunny on this point, and reminded listeners that the “broken window” theory had been highly successful in Mayor Giuliani’s clean-up of New York.
The idea is that if you let little tykes who break windows go unpunished, who knows what crimes they’ll graduate to, maybe even terrorism.
Little One did add the caveat to Bruce’s theory that terrorism has an international element that extended a little wider than Lakemba.
A staunch supporter of media balance, the PM also appeared on 2UE with the Golden Tonsils on the morning after the big terror raids. Despite all their differences, the two old shockers have much in common, not least their ability to make Little One feel comfortable and relaxed:
“You’d rather be liked than disliked wouldn’t you? I mean that’s human nature,” asked the talking Brillo Pad.
“Well I guess that’s true,” replied the tiny PM.
But Brillo was fired-up:
“It’s extraordinary that one of those men charged is a convert, his name apparently is Shane Kent, and he’s converted to Islam and to the most terrifying sector of Islam, he’s one of these people who was picked up.”
“Yes, I don’t want to talk about him, if you don’t mind,” Johnny requested.
“No, I don’t mind,” replied Lawsie.
* * *
On the same day Johnnie was being grilled on the airwaves the foreign minister, Alexander Downer was a the national press club and the Herald Sun’s Lincoln Wright wanted to know the ramifications for Australia of Scooter Libby’s indictment.
In my school days the name we gave those spongy boys who were unbelievably pathetic, and smelly to boot, was “flog”. Here’s Bunter’s reply to Lincoln’s question:
“You know the more I think about that the more I’m thinking about watching the cricket and seeing, you know, Hussey came in there, his first game, and the ball came swirling down, a short ball, and he just played such an amateurish hook at the ball and hit it straight up and it was caught by the wicket-keeper in his first test match. And I’ll just tell you that because I was thinking of not really getting into this issue and let this ball just swirl past my ears to the wicket-keeper take it behind because this isn’t my first match, I’ve played many matches before.”
See what I mean? A complete and utter flog.
* * *
Meanwhile, the WorkChoices Bill was roaring through the house at breakneck speed against the backdrop of the terrorism fireworks display.
Big Kev Andrews, the minister in charge, was in fine form and armed with some powerful derision.
Kev had dug out a transcript from Adelaide’s 5AN where in 2000 Bomber had reflected on his position in the polity:
“So you actually have a role to be carping … but carping, yeah, there is a role for this unfortunately,” the opposition leader explained to the listeners.
Ever the brilliant barrister, Kevvie had looked-up carping in his thesaurus and told the house that it meant: “complaining, moaning, nitpicking, fault finding and rousing.”
Hansard records that opposition members interjected.
Mr Speaker: “Order! I remind members that the voters of Australia deserve better from their elected representatives – and that includes their behaviour in this house.”
Mr Andrews: “The Member for Brand, in nine years, eight months and eight days, has done nothing but carp, carp, carp.”
One can always rely on Kev to improve the tone if not the intellectual input of any discussion.
* * *
As ever, the final word for the week should go to Fabulous Phil, aka Dr Death – this time at a doorstop outside the High Court where he had just made a dazzling contribution at Susan Crennan’s swearing-in, see report.
Here is the attorney general reassuring citizens that they have nothing to fear from his new souped-up sedition laws, as long as he’s in charge:
Attorney General: “I don’t think it would be used often at all and I simply make the point that in relation to some of the comment, and I’ve written a piece which if you would like it, I don’t know which media you were giving it to, but I’ve written a piece outlining what the sedition measures deal with, but the measures do include a requirement that the attorney general approves of any prosecutions.
So you know, if there are people who think there are going to be prosecutions between now and next year, they should be alert to the fact that I’m going to look at any of those critically, it won’t be the police pursuing a matter that they think appropriate, it will a matter where they have to form a judgment and the DPP form a judgment and I have to form a judgment.”
Journalist: And so you saying you’re retiring at the end of next year?
Attorney General: No. I said – look I don’t know how you draw that conclusion?
Oh, what a pity.