Goldfish 1 – Did you know that we only have a memory span of three seconds?
Goldfish 2 – That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard!
Goldfish 1 – What is?
Ok, that’s not a very good joke and I’m sure someone will point out that the goldfish memory span of three seconds is an urban myth… possibly started by someone who found it impossible to train his or her goldfish.
Anyway, while goldfish may have a greater memory span than a few seconds, so does just about everyone else apart from political journalists and politicians being questioned by anti-corruption bodies. In the latter case, if anyone has, “I don’t recall” on their drinking bingo card is likely to end up in hospital with alcoholic poisoning.
So I couldn’t help but wonder what Peter Dutton was hoping to achieve by suggesting that the release of the Robodebt Royal Commission report was timed to coincide with the Fadden by-election. Maybe he was hoping that nobody would remember that the release date was set before the Honourable Member, Stuart Robert announced that he wouldn’t be coming back to Parliament because he wanted to focus on his family. Maybe he was hoping that nobody saw a connection between the timing of the by-election and the fact that it was family man, Robert, chose to go before the release of the report.
He was certainly hoping that nobody could see a connection between the fact that Robodebt victims were being asked to prove that they didn’t owe the money and the presumption of innocence. After all, how could any say that Mr Albanese was trying to unseal the contents of the confidential part of the report and follow it up with “There is a presumption of innocence.”
Or have I misunderstood the notion and the presumption of innocence only applies to Coalition MPs? Unless, of course, they betray the party like Peter Slipper and must stand down as Speaker owing to the things they’ve been accused of. (And certainly don’t mention Craig Thomson here. Or David Hicks, Christina Holgate, Katy Gallagher… Ok that’s just off the top of my head.)
And when Peter Dutton said that Robodebt scheme was stopped as soon as the government became aware of the problems… Well, is he hoping that we’ve all forgotten how many times over a number of year that the government was made aware of potential problems before it was stopped, or is he simply hoping that we’ve all forgotten the meaning of the words “as soon as”?
However, that’s nothing compared Scott Morrison. Yes, he’s had to interrupt his time in Italy, and yes, he’s up to his old tricks. The first of these, of course, is that he rejects what he’s been accused of. We all remember the “I reject the premise of the question” being trotted out whenever the interviewer asked him something difficult. Now it’s become “I reject the premise of the Royal Commissioner” because, being just a silly woman, she doesn’t understand government. If she did, she’d know that what he was doing was just fine because, well, he said so and after all, he was the person in charge, so he’d know. When he was giving evidence, she just kept interrupting and making him answer a completely irrelevant question and she doesn’t seem to have accepted all the documentary evidence of the fact that he knew nothing. And he completely rejected all adverse findings against him before adding that executive government would be “completely unworkable” if ministers couldn’t rely on public servants for advice.
Now, apart from the fact that so much of the advice seems to have been ignored or deliberately hidden, Scotty from MuckingItUp is overlooking a key thing here: During the Sports Rorts controversy when Morrison was being questioned about making decisions that were inconsistent with the guidelines and over-ruling certain projects in favour of others who just happened to be in electorates that the Coalition needed to win, he asserted that it was politicians who “lived and breathed in their electorates” were the best ones to make decisions and that this “advice” from public servants wasn’t something to be relied on. It was merely a thought bubble rather like the Canberra bubble that needn’t be reflected in the eventual awarding of grants and ministers could do things like determine that a pool in North Sydney was worthy or a regional grant or that clubs could be given money to build female change rooms on the off chance that they may wonder have a female team.
Morrison also added that he didn’t hold a hose, telling us: “The proposal was initiated within the public service and was not a government-initiated measure by ministers. It was initiated by departments before I became the minister for social services.” See, nothing to do with him; he was just standing there waiting for a photo…
And that silly Commissioner’s account “fails to take into account the context and environment in which the measure was conceived”. Strangely he didn’t elaborate on this, so one must presume it was get the Budget back to surplus no matter even if we have to ruin a few thousand lives to do it.
Commissioner Holmes also ignores the part of the story where he ensured that nothing he did was traceable back to him because, he didn’t do anything. Again, a familiar pattern.
I was surprised that we didn’t hear that it was only after Jen explained to him that it would be terrible if one of his daughters was saddled with a debt she didn’t owe that he stopped the scheme.
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