One of the problems with politics was best expressed when a Liberal politician was attacking a policy that she thought was Labor’s, only to be told midway that it was, in fact, Cormann who said it. Suddenly it became good policy.
I always try to separate the person from the politics but that’s not always easy. Just like when Andrew Bolt says something you agree with, you wonder whether you should reassess your views or your whole life.
And, of course, when it comes to anything that Christian Porter may or may not have done, it’s hard not to be influenced by one’s previous experience of him. When you look at the stuff that 4 Corners revealed and his performance as a government MP, any thinking person must conclude that he is clearly a… man with a defamation lawyer by his side.
But even if there was no defamation lawyer there, it’s always worth taking the personality out of the equation and asking yourself how you’d feel in general terms.
Yes, this is a noble ambition, but unfortunately, there is never any general terms, so what we’re left with in individual situations which we try and make consistent rules about. Take drink driving. We know that it’s wrong and dangerous so we accept that people should have some sort of penalty unless they work for the PMO and can get a letter from George Brandis… I was going to write Attorney-General but someone might think that I mean the current one and as I said before, he’s a man with a defamation lawyer standing beside him so I wouldn’t want to say anything that would sound like I’m criticising him.
So let’s deal entirely in hypotheticals here, but let’s keep them non-party specific so that we can establish the general rule and then look at whether or not there should ever be an exception. Let’s give Christian Porter his time off and accept his statements at face value and believe him when he says that he has never been made aware of any of the allegations at any time and he strenuously denies them even if he has never been made aware of what they were except by Scott Morrison who hadn’t read them either but somehow knew that Christian Porter was the person to ask about the allegations of which neither of them had the specifics. Yes, as Christian said, everything he read about the woman who made the complaint suggested that she was a troubled soul…which would be confusing owing to the fact that she hasn’t actually been named in the media and he hasn’t been made aware of the allegations so it’d be quite amazing that he knows who she is, were it not for the fact that Christian has probably read a lot about a lot of women and he understands that they’re usually troubled souls when it comes to him.
Let’s be clear to everyone and, in particular, to any defamation lawyers reading this, anything I write from this point on has no relation to Christian Porter or any other Christian or pretend Christian. (Note to my lawyer: Please check that Scotty can’t sue me for the pretend Christian remark.)
Scenario: Woman accuses man of rape. Before this is investigated thoroughly, woman dies. Allegations against man are leaked to media who report them in general terms without naming individuals involved.
Due to the standing of the man accused, this becomes controversial so it’s referred back to the police who say there’s not enough evidence to proceed because the woman died before making a formal statement.
In general terms, what would you have happen here? An independent inquiry led by a judge with coercive powers? A fearless Woodward and Bernstein combination of journalists determined to find the truth. A request that the police waste their precious resources by preparing another statement that they won’t be able to find enough evidence for a criminal conviction but they will at least ask the accused man and tell you if they think he’s dodgy. A whisper campaign to destroy the man. Social media to hang him in effigy.
Well, of course, all these things would go against natural justice. No, from what I understand the best thing is to do nothing because an independent inquiry into accusations from a dead person would mean that no person in public office would ever be safe again. All that it would take to destroy a reputation would be for someone to accuse a high profile person and they’d be forced to have an inquiry into their actions which might find out almost anything and nobody would be safe from vexatious accusations from people who suicided just to gain a political advantage.
Yeah, simple. Piece of fucking cake.
On another note, what a pity that Grace Tame is already Australian of The Year because wouldn’t it be great to be able to make her Australian of the Year after today’s speech.
If you feel alone, don’t, because you’re certainly not. Go into the street and shout “I”m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” I suspect that this is one day that you won’t be alone, if that doesn’t work here’s the Lifeline number 131114.
(Actually, I always thought that the best line from Network wasn’t I’m mad as hell, it was “All I know is, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, goddamn it. My life has value.”)
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