Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Weasel-stop interview

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-08-12

Bob McMullin on Insiders (2007-08-12) has done a perfect bit of weasel-wording in response to Barry Cassidy’s questions, mainly about the ALP rolling-over on the NT Land-and-Rights grab, and demonstrates the dilemma for the ALP "Opposition" I noted in "Non-core silences" (2007-08-08).

Labor either is no better than Howard in intent, or prepared to lie to the Australian public in a good cause, and so is no better than Howard in practice.

OK, so here comes the relevant part of the transcript.  I’ll cover more about Howard’s possible tactics for the rest of this term in another post.

Barrie Cassidy: Why is Labor, then, in effect encouraging him to do that, by supporting him?

Bob McMullan: Well, we’re not encouraging him to do that.  We think he should have a plan for the next 10 years, not just the next 10 weeks.  We try and deal with each individual proposal on its merits but it’s not the way one ought to go about running the country or managing the federation.

Barrie Cassidy: Well on the issue that started all of this seven weeks ago, the intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.  Now, that’s gone through the House of Representatives with Labor support. Have you really had time to make a clear-eyed view about the real impact of this?

Bob McMullan: Well, it’s too early to do that. I spoke on the matter in the Parliament.  I expressed my grave concerns about some aspects of the legislation, which as you know, we tried to amend, but at the end of the day, you had a choice.  Are you going to support something that might help some of the children and other victims of violence, or not? And when the choice is that stark, you have to support it but we were calling for a review, we published… tried to amend some parts of it, for example, relation to the Racial Discrimination Act and permit system, and we said some of the other should be reviewed in 12 months to see if it’s actually working.

Barrie Cassidy: I did hear what you said in the Parliament and let me summarise some of your concerns.  You said: it will fail, there’s no long term plan there, it goes in the opposite direction to the Wild-Anderson plan, it’s rushed, it’s flawed, it implements an extreme ideological agenda.  And then the other point that you mentioned, it undermines the Racial Discrimination Act. And still you support it.

Bob McMullan: It was a very good speech I thought, Barrie.  Yes. And I went on to say, after all that, why support it?  Because it’s the only show in town.  There are children and women, and old people, subjected to threats of violence and not receiving the level of support they are entitled to from health and legal, law enforcement and other services.  This is the only way the Howard Government’s going to provide that support and I’m not going to say I feel uncomfortable about this, therefore I’m prepared to vote against the proposition of giving assistance to those people.  If we were the Government, I think we could provide that assistance in a much better way.  But we don’t have that choice.  It was support the Howard Government’s package or support nothing.

Barrie Cassidy: So, let’s make this clear then.  If you win the election, then the package will be substantially changed and you will do things very differently?

Bob McMullan: What we’ve said in the debate and what Jenny Macklin and Kevin have said is we’ll have review in about 12 months after the plan comes into operation to see how it’s working.

Barrie Cassidy: So you will give effect to the amendments that you put up in the Parliament?

Bob McMullan: I’m not authorised to say we’ll do every dot and comma because I can’t recall all that, but the broad question from… that I’ve looked at and I’m concerned about is we’ll review to make sure it’s actually achieving the purpose.  The purpose is saving the children.  that has to be our number one priority.  There are other things I’m concerned about but if I’m not going to allow these to interfere with my number one priority, which is saving the children.

Barrie Cassidy: Given the comprehensive nature of your concerns, why wait 12 months for a review? Why wouldn’t you have it in January of February?

(More waffling weaseling from McMullan)

The key point here is that McMullan admits it was going in exactly the opposite direction from what he considers to be very good recommendations, but the ALP supported it, and say they’ll let a blatantly flawed and very-likely harmful (from the submissions of health professionals I’ve read) set of actions to run out a full twelve months.

If McMullan’s first priority is to "save the children", then he should say they’ll look into it earlier given the many warnings that the bills will make things worse.

I’d hoped I’d never live to say this: I hope all the ALP folk are lying through their teeth.

Aaaaah say boy!!  Do yah wanna win an election boy??  Aaaaah say doooo yah??

Image of Weasel from Foghorn Leghorn cartoons
Junior from Foghorn Leghorn cartoons

Weasel and Junior are Warner Bros characters


One Response to “Weasel-stop interview”

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