Tony Abbott promised to do many things if the LNP won the 2013
election. One of these, which was no doubt driven by populism and not
policy (like everything else), was his promise to hold a judicial inquiry into Julia Gillard’s actions as a lawyer. He hammered this issue relentlessly during the campaign. Not content to simply ‘ditch the witch’
he wanted to conduct a witch hunt of his own into irrelevant matters
that were played out almost twenty years ago; matters that meant
absolutely zero to the country. Most of us know of course that those
matters mean absolutely zero in this present day as well, but that’s
another story. Twenty years later, on this irrelevant issue:
Mr Abbott insisted again that Ms Gillard had committed a
crime in her role of providing legal advice to incorporate an
association for her then boyfriend and Australian Workers Union Victoria
state secretary Bruce Wilson.
Abbott had no doubt been buoyed by poll after poll showing that
voters questioned Ms Gillard’s explanation of the matter, hence his race
towards tacky populism.
He of course ran the risk of being exposed as an utter fraud if the
judicial inquiry turned up nothing to support his favoured exercise of
fear and smear. But it would never deter him from practicing current day
populism. History now shows – or is presently being played out – that
the inquiry has turned into a ‘monumental failure’, as reported by Peter Wicks. It joins Abbott’s ‘own goal’ with his farcical Royal Commission into what he shrilly keeps calling the ‘pink batts fiasco’. He loves the smell of blood.
Given that he is keen to exert his time and money on
hunts on whose episodes are more recent than Julia Gillard’s alleged
criminal behaviour 20 years ago and whose outcomes would certainly be of
Below are some of the witch hunts Mr Abbott should take the time to
pursue (as the man displays an obvious fetish with them). Long-term
readers might recognise that I have raised these before, but given that
witch hunts have been dominating the news over the last few days,
raising them – and the manner in which they were quickly and
conveniently swept under the carpet – further show that the current
witch hunts are nothing but political opportunism.
So, Mr Abbott, what about these?
Our illegal war
Please take a look at John Howard’s lie
that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We entered into an illegal
war based on that lie. We ordinary Australians are more interested in
the lie that cost this country billions of dollars and the thrashing of
our national pride. We, as a country, are still shadowed by that war,
whereas Ms Gillard’s alleged actions were almost 20 years ago. Let’s
have some priority.
The AWB Oil-for-Wheat Scandal refers to the payment of kickbacks to
the regime of Saddam Hussein in contravention of the United Nations
Oil-for-Food Humanitarian Program. AWB Limited is a major grain
marketing organisation based in Australia. For much of the twentieth and
early 21st century, it was an Australian Government entity operating a
single desk regime over Australian wheat, meaning it alone could export
Australian wheat, which it paid a single price for. In the mid-2000s, it
was found to have been, through middlemen, paying kickbacks to the
regime of Saddam Hussein in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. This
was in direct contradiction of United Nations Sanctions, and of
Australian law. Mr Abbott, please take a look into how the Howard Government
– of which you were a member – were entangled in this reprehensible
act. Please also ask your former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who
knew ‘nothing’ of the affair, if it is true that his staff removed 11
wheelie bins filled with shredded documents from his office the morning
after losing the 2007 election. Perhaps you could put an end to the
rumour that circulated Canberra about the contents of those mysterious
Dodgy deals – Malcolm Turnbull
Mr Abbott, do you remember this?
In a speech that Mr Turnbull gave in Perth it was reported he “ .
. . decried the state of political discourse in Australia, saying it
had deteriorated to such an extent that the nation suffered “a deficit
of trust” and there was an urgent need for honesty in politics.”
Despite all that preaching he then refused to answer a number of
questions in relation to a grant he gave when he was Environment
Minister in the Howard government to his friend Matt Handbury. Mr
Hanbury, co-founder of the Australian Rain Corporation and nephew of the
News Corporation chief, Rupert Murdoch, you might recall, contributed
to Mr Turnbull’s electorate fund-raising machine (which was set up in 2007).
Mr Abbott, do you remember Mr Handbury’s company receiving a $10
million grant from Mr Turnbull when he was Environment Minister not long
before the 2007 election? $10 million of tax payer’s money.
A witch hunt may jog your memory. And what an amazing coincidence that he is related to Rupert Murdoch.
Dodgy deals – John Howard
Mr Abbott, in 2000 your old boss decided to help the retrenched
workers of National Textiles to recover their entitlements after the
company, of which Mr Howard’s brother Stan was Chairman, was placed in
the hands of an administrator.
It was reported at the time that it was Prime Minister Howard:
. . . who proudly announced that the cash-strapped
National Textiles’ workers would receive their full entitlements. It was
the Prime Minister who said they would be the first to recover wages,
leave and a redundancy payout under a new National scheme and it was the
Prime Minister who urged the creditors to accept a Deed of Arrangement
so that the $6 million in State and Federal funds would flow.
. . . the Australian newspaper claimed that acceptance of the scheme
would prevent an inquiry into National Textiles’ management and
Directors, of which Mr Howard’s brother, Stan, is one. The editorial was
scathing, raising questions about the government’s probity and calling
the taxpayer funded bail-out improper, and policy on the run.
The then Opposition called for an inquiry but it went nowhere
(naturally). Mr Abbott, given your carried-out promise of a witch hunt
to dig up Julia Gillard’s past perhaps you’d be moral enough to do a bit
of digging dig into this shady deal as well. Strike while the witch
hunt iron is hot!
Future governments will no doubt be in overdrive holding Royal
Commissions into the wealth of material this current government is
providing us with – hopefully some of those might get to the truth
behind Ashbygate or dodgy donations – but as I have pointed out, there
is a lot of old stock to clear off the shelves first.
Mr Abbott is not the only one who smells blood; so do I. His. And his party.