A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I found the phrase, “not a hanging offence” rather absurd for the simple reason that there are no hanging offences in Australia so that even if a government MP committed murder or rape, he could keep his job because, well, they’re not hanging offences. You can check out what I wrote in; Note To Morrison: “You’re Going To Need A Bigger Carpet!”
I thought of this during question time at Morrison’s presser today, but before I deal with that I must say that the first part of the presser reminded me of Churchill. Something like: “Never have so many words been used by so few people to say so little.” Perhaps I missed it but it seemed another occasion where Morrison announced his intention to do something at some unspecific future date. Somebody suggested that he deserved an Oscar when he waved his hands and appeared to become emotional and, while I don’t think that Oscars are a true indicator of acting greatness, I thought his performance at that moment so wooden I doubt whether he’d be cast in Manangatang’s amateur theatre… That may be a little unfair! I have seen any productions at Manangatang and their acting may be quite good. Whatever, the Pro Moter wasn’t very convincing.
I must say that my mind began to wander when he started to talk about the legal process. At one point, our leader assured us that it was up to the police to determine the veracity of a complaint! Silly me, all this time I thought that it was the courts! But I guess you don’t have as much control over them because you don’t take their bins in.
In spite of the news conference being about the release of the report into Aged Care, journalists were more interested in other matters… possibly because the report was released just moments before and none of them had read it because they were all at the press conference. Anyway, when someone asked about the alleged rapist who’s allegedly in Cabinet although we’ve seen no evidence of that recently because he’s too busy allegedly changing his Wikipedia pages, Morrison was quite strong on correct legal procedure and this idea of innocent until proven guilty, which I’ll simply refer to as your Monopoly card because it’s the “Get Out Of Jail” free card.
David Hicks, you may remember, didn’t have this Monopoly card because “we knew he was guilty” according to John Howard. Of course, we were also told that he couldn’t be brought back to Australia because he hadn’t broken any Australian laws. Interesting to put the two ideas together.
Julia Gillard was leading an illegitimate government because she relied on the vote of Craig Thomson who was being investigated for fraud. At this stage he hadn’t been found guilty, or even charged with a crime, but Kathy Jackson said he was guilty so that should be enough, shouldn’t it?
Peter Slipper had to stand down as Speaker because he’d inappropriately charged less than a thousand dollars to the taxpayer. Or at least, he was accused of doing so and it’s not like he was using his home internet to run his business and charging thousands to the taxpayer.
But this case is completely different because the Prime Sinister asked the alleged rapist point blank: “Did you do it?” He apparently strongly denied it, because if you weakly deny it, you might still be guilty, but a strong denial is just fine. Much better than saying, “How can I remember every crime I’ve ever committed?”
Now I think that it’s important to remember that nobody should be presumed guilty without a proper process. However, I also think that people need to remember that presumption of innocence is not the same thing as the proof of innocence. It simply means that we can’t presume them guilty. If a financial advisor beats a fraud charge, I’d suggest that it may not be prudent to say, “Well, they’re ok then, I’ll trust them to invest my life savings and I’ll just check on how it’s all going in a year or so.”
Too often we say that someone was cleared of an offence when it was simply that there wasn’t enough proof to convict. O.J. Simpson was found “Not guilty” but I’d suggest that nobody would be prepared to say categorically that he was innocent of the crime.
So with no complainant and the police unlikely to proceed, exactly what can happen from here?
Mm, well I’m pretty sure the police won’t be proceeding, so we’re left with the Monopoly card. If nobody’s convicted then everyone’s not guilty and entitled to the presumption of innocence and that’s the way it should be, because under this government unless it’s a hanging offence you don’t resign – unless you’re a woman. And the PM asked the alleged man and he allegedly rejected the accusation and that should be enough.
I look forward to Martin Bryant’s release any day now…
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