Tony Abbott has promised to do many things if the LNP win the 2013 election. This promise, now a couple of months old, has been stuck in my craw: Driven by populism, not policy, he has promised to hold a judicial inquiry into Julia Gillard’s actions as a lawyer should the Coalition win the 2013 election. And have no doubts about it; he will hammer this issue religiously during the campaign. Not content to simply ‘ditch the witch’ he wants to conduct a witch hunt into irrelevant matters that were played out almost twenty years ago; matters that will mean absolutely zero to the country should Julia Gillard lose the 2013 election. Some of us would argue that those matters mean absolutely zero in this present day, 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 has no doubt been buoyed by poll after poll showing that voters question Ms Gillard’s explanation of the matter, hence his further drift towards tacky populism.
It is my guess that he’ll do absolutely nothing. He runs the risk of being exposed as an utter fraud if the judicial inquiry turns up nothing to support his current exercise in fear and smear. And he knows it, but it doesn’t deter him from practicing current day populism.
Given that Mr Abbott wants to exert his “future government’s” time and money on
judicial inquiries – witch hunts – I have a handful of instances from where he might want to hold witch hunts on whose episodes are more recent than the Prime Minister’s alleged criminal behaviour 20 years ago and whose outcomes are more in the national interest.
Here are some of the witch hunts Mr Abbott might want to pursue.
Our illegal war
Mr Abbott, 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 which tarnished our national pride. We, as a country, are still associated with 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, 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 bins.
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.”
Before Malcolm starts preaching he needs to have a good look at himself . . . having 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.
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 Opposition called for an inquiry but it went nowhere. Mr Abbott, given your 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.
Or perhaps the current Government could do their own digging. Ouch, won’t that hurt?
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