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Polly Peck
24 August, 2006  
Capital Offences

The attorney general is more worried about the fountain clock at Westfield Hornsby than he is about David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay … Polly Peck tracks another breathtaking week for the attorney general and his shadow

imageFresh skerricks have emerged from the most recent SCAG meeting. That was the one where state attorneys Rob “Fuckin” Hulls and Uncle Bob Debus pressed Fabulous Phil about the Hicks case.

In particular they wanted to know whether Hicks was being ill-treated or tortured.

Uncle Bob even read to the meeting extracts from Professor Al McCoy’s article about the Guantanamo detainee in The Monthly.

No, said Fabbo, he’s just fine over in the US concentration camp. Plenty of others are complaining about his treatment but Hicks has not complained. In fact, said Fabbo he’s had 13 or 14 consular visits and he’s made no allegations of abuse.

Even the US has undertaken two investigations and found them to be unsubstantiated.

That’s that. Next topic.

But wait a minnie Phil. What about the affidavit Hicks swore for Major Dan Mori on August 5, 2004? In it he listed 22 instances of ill-treatment, abuse and torture – from beatings, injection of unknown chemicals, menacing with weapons and dogs, sleep deprivation, strobe lighting, extreme cold, solitary confinement and no sunlight.

I’m not sure what category into which we should put Phil’s denials. Somewhere between bare-faced fibs and fish-faced fabulism.

* * *

Then again there’s the caring Fabulous Phil we saw on Monday (Aug. 21) as he turned up for “work experience” at a mechanics workshop and then the lolly counter at a cinema both on Sydney’s north shore.

imageThe garage manager Laurie Vella told the ABC that the attorney general was a fairly good worker. He checked tyre pressures and looked at the express maintenance bays.

ABC: “Did he get his hands dirty?”

Laurie: “Ummm, no not really.”

Up at the Hornsby cinema Phil was sticking chocolate on ice creams – would you eat an ice-cream handled by this man? He also said he was going to knock heads together to see if the fountain clock at the Westfield Shopping Centre can’t be fixed.

Attaboy Phil.

* * *

“Design professionals” will be asked to submit their funkiest plans for a “state of the art intelligence facility”, which will be the new home for ASIO and the Office of National Assessments from 2010-11.

Fabulous Phil and Finance Minister Nickie Munchkin formally announced the project last week, although it has been kicking around for yonks.

Phil says the new HQ is needed because of the massive increase in ASIO staff, i.e. previously unemployed history graduates in bad suits.

Despite the expertise of Senator Munchkin’s bean counters at the Department of Finance and Administration we have to wait until next year’s budget for an estimated cost of the new spooks Taj.

* * *

Shadow Attorney Lillian Roxon had a nice exchange of pleasantries with members opposite in question time last week, as tempers flared after a fortnight of parliamentary over-excitement.

Lillian asked Little Johnny if, by reappointing Pru Goward as Sex Discrimination Commissioner, he was providing her:

“A $250,000 safety net – including an accommodation allowance – in case, despite his support, Ms Goward is denied preselection by the extreme right wing New South Wales Liberal Party?”

imageAfter Little One confirmed Goward had been reappointed, Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella (nee Panopoulos) – pic – labelled Lillian a “feminist hypocrite”.

Amid Labor protests, the Speaker ruled:

“If the Member for Indi [Sophie] made an offensive remark, I would ask the Member for Indi to withdraw that remark.”

Sophie: “Mr Speaker, there was no offensive remark, the Member for Gellibrand [Lillian] who herself is part of a quota system is a token female here.”

Labor’s Lindsay Tanner pointed out he’d had to withdraw after labelling Little One a hypocrite last year, before Mirabella relented:

“If the truth hurts, I’ll withdraw the remark. I withdraw the remark”.

Speaker: “The Member for Indi will withdraw with reservation.”

Sophie: “I do withdraw.”

* * *

imageThe following day Lillian had her regular on-air seance with former Victorian Liberal leader Robert Doyle, hosted by 3AW’s Neil Mitchell (pic). She said:

“It’s a funny old word though isn’t it? Because it’s got such a bad reputation but really I call myself a feminist if anyone asks because I believe women have equal abilities and should have equal rights with men and I’m sure you’d both agree with that too.”

Mitchell: “If only they did.”

Lillian: “But I’m sure you’d both agree that they should.”

Mitchell: “I’d like men to have equal rights with women…”

Lillian: “Well I think that they do…”

Mitchell: “You’re streets ahead now…”

* * *

Lillian’s regular wireless appearance is central to her plan of out-common touching Phil (if that’s possible), and she’s grown increasingly feisty in the process.

Recently Doyle expressed his outrage at unions using the MCG for an anti-WorkChoices rally – a terrific instance of the elevated condition of political discourse. Lillian retorted:

“If you wanted a venue to fill up with the people who actually support Howard’s laws you certainly wouldn’t need any of those other venues because you could stick ‘em all in a telephone box…”

Mitchell: “Are you a member [of the MCG] by the way Robert?

Doyle: “Yes I am.”

Mitchell: “So am I…”

Lillian: “Yes, I’m not.”

Mitchell admitted he’d been, “Put down [for membership] by my Labor voting father…”

“What happened to you Neil?” queried Lillian.

Mitchell: “You don’t know how I vote! Well, maybe you do…”

Lillian: “I don’t know, I was just asking…”

Pretty riveting discussion, I’m sure you’ll agree.

* * *

Last week the shadow AG made a spirited attack on the real AG about the decision not to shell out $25,000 to support the national conference of Community Legal Centres held in Wollongong.

This was the first time in 15 years that the Commonwealth had pulled the financial plug on the CLCs’ conference.

Lillian reckoned with family, welfare and IR law changes for the legal centres to deal with, it just showed that Fabbo “is just too mean to actually assist them… I think it also shows that this attorney has a glass jaw”.

The local Labor member, Sharon Bird, chirped:

“Can I just say to the attorney general, what on earth is wrong with Wollongong?”