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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

on the road « Previous | |Next »
August 17, 2004

I will be on the road for a few days in South Australia looking at the lack of biodiversity in the Mallee and proposed salt interception schemes in the Riverland. I will also look at a dead Marne River in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. This death event has been caused by wineries in the Eden Valley capturing nearly 70% of the run-off from the winter rains. They say they are drought proofing.Too bad about the Marne River.

Since few really care about such things, here are some loose comments on more sexy topics.

This cartoon just about sums up the recent antics of Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister.


Then have a read of this and this. These refer to the challenge to Howard's accountability and credibility by Mike Scrafton, a former adviser to a defence minister, Peter Reith. They are concerned with what Scrafton told the Prime Minister about the children overboard incident prior to the previous federal election.

Scrafton's account will place the PM on the defensive. Another arrow fired at Howard's case for war with Iraq (built on the claim that Iraq undoubtedly had WMDs that posed a substantial threat to Australia) this account of what Hans Blix informed Howard.

Then read Michelle Grattan. No doubt the Liberal staffers will walk the corridors in Canberra to spread the innuendo and dirt amongst the Canberra Press Gallery. That is part of the standard smear campaign rolled out against dissenters and whistleblowers.

August 18
I'm catching up what has been happening in the commentary around Mike Scrafton's intervention. Pual Kelly says:

"Scrafton has been a career public servant and is a credible witness. He told this paper that "nobody at my level forgets saying to the Prime Minister the intelligence he has been relying on for a month is wrong". His explanation for not revealing his version to the earlier Bryant inquiry makes sense -- serving career bureaucrats don't undermine prime ministers. That is not their job."

Another former senior public servant has gone public to support Scrafton's claims that the PM was told there was no evidence to support the children overboard claim at least three days before the election in 2001.

More from Michelle Grattan here. A full account can be found over at Backpages. Things are unravelling for Howard at long last on Tampa. From the grabs I saw on commercial television today the PM is not sounding very persuasive. He looks as if he has a credibility problem.

It looks as if the ALP has regained the political initiative.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:53 AM | | Comments (0)