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

political damage « Previous | |Next »
February 15, 2006

I've been watching Mark Vaile, the Minister for Trade, in Question Time, these last couple of days, as he was being questioned about his knowledge of the bribery conducted by AWB associated with slipping money to Saddam Hussein. Vaile has become Labor's prime target as the sleaze affair starts to begin to turn into a scandal.

Matt Golding

It's increasingly becoming more and more of a 'bluster and bluff' defence as Vaile stone walls with his I knew and heard nothing line to evade all ministerial acountability. It's the UN that is at fault, you see. It was their oil-for-food program, they failed to excise oversight. It has nothing to do with the Australian government. Unbelivable. Utterly implausible.

Vaile looks inept and complicit as he revises his blind eye story to cover his deceit and evasion of ministerial responsibility. Even with the Speaker protecting his irrelevant answers, it's an embarrasing performance, as he thrashes around in desperation in a tough- it-out- mode about how he knew nothing about all the warnings coming into Canberra from everywhere over a two year period.

What kind of agri-politics is it when Saddam Hussein's regime received more money in per tonne in kickbacks than the AWB recieved for its wheat? Why defend that?

What we are seeing is a failure of Parliamentary accountibility, given the gagging of the bureaucrats before the Senate estimates committee about matters before the Cole commission on the AWB kickbacks scandal.

The ALP attack has achieved political damage.The Howard Government is looking arrogant and corrupt, whilst the days when the AWB acts as a single desk export monopoly is finished.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:08 PM | | Comments (8)


What kind of agri-politics is it when Saddam Hussein's regime received more money in per tonne in kickbacks than the AWB recieved for its wheat???

In order to get at least some credibility how about doing a bit of homework.
AWB received $222/tonne for one of their sales. $46 of this was paid to whoever for ‘land transport’ in Iraq. Costs ex seaboard came out of this $46.

So I put to you that the AWB received $176 per tonne delivered wharf Iraq, much less than any kickbacks Saddam Hussein's regime may have/probably did receive.

If you are capable what about contributing something useful to political debate in this country. With politics on all side at such a low ebb, we certainly need it.

Two Bob,
yes I did make a mistake--I should have said 'almost as much as', rather than 'more money' than. I was going to correct it but you pointed it out before I could.

I was working off what Kim Beazley said in Question Time today. The Beazley grab was repeated on the news segment on Lateline tonight.

I will try and track down the reference.

Two Bob bobs, but misses the apple. Most spectators amused as the wheat is his declared target.

Thanks for the explanation. Accepted. Perhaps a politician’s spin is not the best source of information.

Simon, could you decipher your comment for me please. As it stands it appears to me that you are still in short pants or off this planet.

I would think that the Iraqi regime received more for the wheat than AWB's margin - probably quite a bit more.

two bob,
there is a difference between question asked in the House and talking to the media outside the Parliament.

That is why I picked up on the Question Time ---they have to get the factual stuff right. The stuff for the media is spin.

The question and figures haven't been picked up the Canberra media, nor are they on the Lateline transcripts. So I would have to go back to Hansard.

Sorry for the tone of my original post but I get annoyed when I see factual errors or obvious spin in media articles I know something about.

It leads me to worry about how to assess articles of which I have little knowledge. Very critically I suggest.

I do try to keep authors on their toes as people can only vote according to their individual narrow band of experience if there is no trust of the media, allowing the politicians to get away with anything. Note how the AWB saga is washing over the Coalition.

A correction: The AWB saga APPEARS to be washing over the Coalition. The difference a word makes!!