Josh Fry­den­berg, An­drew Wilkie and Alexan­der Downer. Scott Mor­ri­son and Ker­ryn Phelps. Ian Mac­don­ald and Mehreen Faruqi. Carol Ann Duffy.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents | The Week - Richard Ack­land

Trea­surer Josh Fry­den­berg says it’s a “muck­rak­ing ex­er­cise” on the part of the La­bor Party. In­deed, there is much muck about, but that’s more to do with the no­to­ri­ous leak of gov­ern­ment clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion that ended up in the hands of the Dutch philoso­pher and Her­ald Sun blovi­a­tor Dr An­dreas Blot (BA-in-wait­ing).

Op­po­si­tion front­bencher An­drew Leigh has been pur­su­ing the mat­ter for two years or so with FOI re­quests in the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ap­peals Tri­bunal.

The leak was de­signed to dis­credit in­de­pen­dent MP An­drew Wilkie’s op­po­si­tion to Win­ston Howard’s calami­tous de­ci­sion to in­vade Iraq – a de­ci­sion based on flawed in­tel­li­gence, lies and hal­lu­ci­na­tion.

Wilkie had worked at the Of­fice of Na­tional As­sess­ments where he co-au­thored a re­port called “Iraq: hu­man­i­tar­ian di­men­sions”. Some­one, some­where in the Howard gov­ern­ment thought that if this re­port was given to a faith­ful gov­ern­ment typ­ist, such as Blot, then anti-war ad­vo­cate Wilkie would be given a right Dutch tickle-up.

The lat­est in­for­ma­tion to be un­cov­ered is the tran­script of in­ter­view be­tween Fry­den­berg and Con­sta­ble Plod of the AFP. This has al­lowed peo­ple to join the dots: Wilkie gives ev­i­dence about the Iraq War to a House of Com­mons com­mit­tee in Lon­don. Fry­den­berg, a pantry maid in the of­fice of then for­eign min­is­ter Fish­nets Downer, asks ONA for a copy of Wilkie’s re­port. In breach of se­cu­rity ar­range­ments Fry­den­berg faxed the doc­u­ment on an in­se­cure line to Fish­nets’ home. Two days later, de­tails of the clas­si­fied re­port turn up un­der Blot’s hand in The Hun.

Since then, ca­reers have been ad­vanced. Fry­den­berg some­how or other be­came trea­surer and Craig Ma­clach­lan, with whom he worked at the time, is do­ing great and noble works for Ben­ito Dut­ton, help­ing to ar­range visas for the au pairs of sig­nif­i­cant Aus­tralians and so on.

Fry­den­berg hired top-notch lawyer Leon Zwier from Arnold Bloch Leibler to bloch the re­lease of the in­ter­view.

Alas, it emerged to show de­tails of the rather pally chat be­tween Plod and young Josh, who by then had grad­u­ated to be a fac­to­tum in Win­ston’s of­fice.

Fry­den­berg said he talked fre­quently to Blot, but Con­sta­ble Plod could find no ev­i­dence that he leaked it to the renowned philoso­pher. The trea­surer fought like a scalded cat to stop the re­lease of the tran­script of in­ter­view, but when it was pub­lished he said there is “noth­ing new and noth­ing to add”.

There’s plenty of muck and there needs to be more rak­ing.

Trounced be­liev­ers

The night of the bye-bye elec­tion in Went­worth was punc­tu­ated by a rant of Pen­te­costal pro­por­tions by PM SloMo.

No doubt he was try­ing to gee-up the de­jected gather­ing at the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal in Dou­ble Bay, graz­ing on de­flated arancini balls and suck­ing warm sav blanc. In the process he for­got to con­grat­u­late Ker­ryn Phelps on win­ning.

“I knew there would be tough days and there would be great days. To­day is a tough day, but the great days are com­ing,” the old clap­per bel­lowed, ac­com­pa­nied by much jab­bing of fin­gers and pump­ing of fists.

“We be­lieve in a fair go for those who have a go ... You don’t rise [sic] peo­ple up by bring­ing oth­ers down ... Stand up for what we be­lieve un­til the bell rings and the bell hasn’t rung, Lib­er­als...”

By this stage you’d think SloMo would have run out of vac­u­ous clichés but, no, there were more. “We be­lieve it is ev­ery Aus­tralian’s duty to make a con­tri­bu­tion and not take a con­tri­bu­tion,” he pro­claimed, and added some­thing about Lib­er­als be­ing peo­ple who get up early in the morn­ing.

No won­der Gad­fly is not of the faith, be­ing rarely out of bed be­fore 8am.

So­porific so­lu­tion

An­other im­pon­der­able is why the Nasty Party in­sists on parad­ing fos­sils such as Lit­tle Win­ston Howard and Fab­u­lous Phil Rud­dock around the ring at elec­tion time. They would be bet­ter kept out of the line of sight of un­de­cided elec­tors and small chil­dren. But there was Fab­u­lous Phil on Q&A, the fa­ther of the “Pa­cific So­lu­tion”, with an Amnesty In­ter­na­tional badge glint­ing on his lapel in the stu­dio lights. You sim­ply can’t make this stuff up.

Maybe the New Zealand So­lu­tion is the log­i­cal ex­ten­sion of the Pa­cific So­lu­tion. Much alarm sur­rounds whether refugees and their chil­dren ac­cepted by New Zealand af­ter be­ing banged up on Nauru for five years should be al­lowed to visit Aus­tralia, even to see a dy­ing rel­a­tive or if, in due course, one of their num­ber rose to the heights of NZ PM.

No. Ab­so­lutely not. They wouldn’t be al­lowed to put one tiny foot on our hal­lowed and blessed soil.

A more prob­a­ble like­li­hood is that they wouldn’t want to come to Aus­tralia un­der any cir­cum­stances. Af­ter all, this is the coun­try that has made their lives hell, sent them half mad, de­stroyed their prospects for a bet­ter fu­ture and made a po­lit­i­cal virtue out of their hu­man mis­ery.

For these refugees the lure of Aus­tralia has long ago turned to merde.

Iron Mark tun­nelled

Great dis­trac­tions this week at the

Se­nate le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional af­fairs com­mit­tee, where di­nosaur Ian Mac­don­ald (LNP, Qld) was pre­sid­ing over in­ter­ro­ga­tions of peo­ple from the Aus­tralian Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

The cranky Queens­land mup­pet had trou­ble with the name of the new Greens se­na­tor, Mehreen Faruqi, mother of jour­nal­ist Os­man Faruqi, who is drag­ging Mark Latham through the defama­tion courts.

“Se­na­tor Far-kwee,” he an­nounced. The Pak­istani-born Faruqi, who re­placed Lee Rhi­an­non, pa­tiently ex­plained that her name was “Far-oo-ki” and she pro­ceeded to ask ques­tions of the new race dis­crim­i­na­tion com­mis­sioner, Chin Tan.

Still later in the pro­ceed­ings, the chair­man con­tin­ued to strug­gle with her name.

Mac­don­ald: “Se­na­tor Far-queue-i ...” Faruqi: “It’s Far-oo-ki.”

Mac­don­ald: “Sorry?”

Faruqi: “It’s Far-oo-ki.”

Se­na­tor Mur­ray Watt: “She’s cor­rected you twice now.”

Mac­don­ald: “Well, I’m ...” [ex­as­per­ated sigh]

Mac­don­ald’s ex­ha­la­tion of breath sug­gested he was puz­zled as to how peo­ple with funny names get into the Se­nate.

Still, the dis­cus­sion with the race dis­crim­i­na­tion com­mis­sioner proved, once again, that sen­a­tors are ca­pa­ble of eval­u­at­ing ideas and val­ues to great heights.

Se­na­tor David “Fuck Off ” Ley­on­hjelm asked Com­mis­sioner Chin about the as­ser­tions “from left-lean­ing peo­ple and par­tic­u­larly Greens like Se­na­tor Faruqi” (cor­rect pro­nun­ci­a­tion) that white su­prem­a­cist sen­ti­ment was on the rise.

The com­mis­sioner was non­com­mit­tal, say­ing it was not some­thing the HRC had in con­tem­pla­tion at the mo­ment. Ley­on­hjelm per­sisted: “Is it okay to be white?” And still later, in re­vised form, he wanted to know: “Is it okay to of­fend peo­ple on the ba­sis that they are white?”

Your tax­payer dol­lars are hard at work with this bozo.

War of words

The cur­rent British poet lau­re­ate is Scot­tish – Dame Carol Ann Duffy. In fact, she is the first woman, the first Scot and the first gay per­son (we think) to be poet lau­re­ate.

Di­rec­tor and pro­ducer Danny Boyle com­mis­sioned Dame Carol to write a son­net as part of a se­ries of re­mem­brances to mark the end of World War I. It was pub­lished on Mon­day and it will be read at low tide on the beaches of the United King­dom of Great Bri­tain and the Repub­lic of Ire­land on Novem­ber 11.

It’s called “The Wound in Time”:

It is the wound in Time. The cen­tury’s tides, chant­ing their bit­ter psalms, can­not heal it. Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing

place; the earth nurs­ing its tick­ing metal eggs,

hatch­ing new car­nage. But how could you know, brave as be­lief as you boarded the boats, singing? The end of God in the poi­sonous,

shrap­nelled air.

Po­etry gar­gling its own blood. We sense it

was love you gave your world for; the town squares

si­lent, await­ing their ceno­taphs. What hap­pened

next?

War. And af­ter that? War. And now? War.

War.

His­tory might as well be wa­ter, chastis­ing

this shore; for we learn noth­ing from your end­less

sac­ri­fice.

Your faces drown­ing in the pages of the sea.

Trum­pette #92

It’s a solemn duty each week to rake up some­thing un­men­tion­able about the Tiny-Toad­stool-in-Chief.

Ear­lier this week it emerged that the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the gen­i­tally ob­sessed pres­i­dent wants to de­fine gen­der un­der the civil rights law as some­thing that is de­ter­mined at birth by a per­son’s re­pro­duc­tive or­gans.

The Depart­ment of Health and In­hu­mane Ser­vices wants only two gen­ders – male or fe­male – and no changes please. This is un­happy news for trans­gen­der peo­ple, and other mem­bers of the LGBTQIA com­mu­nity, who al­ready have had plenty of pol­icy pro­nounce­ments with which to con­tend, some of which in­clude: • A pres­i­den­tial mem­o­ran­dum to re­move trans­gen­der peo­ple from the armed ser­vices. Af­ter a se­ries of in­terim in­junc­tions from the courts, the ban ap­pears to be on hold while the Pen­tagon scratches its head and works out what to do.

The over­turn­ing by At­tor­ney­Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions of a pol­icy that pro­tected trans­gen­der work­ers from dis­crim­i­na­tion. Courts have since found Ses­sions’ pol­icy il­le­gal un­der the Civil Rights Act.

The ar­gu­ing by the Jus­tice Depart­ment in an­other case that gay work­ers are not pro­tected from dis­crim­i­na­tion un­der the Civil Rights Act. The pol­icy still ex­ists even though it has not met with suc­cess in the courts.

The de­ci­sion by the Bu­reau of Pris­ons, an­nounced in May this year, that says trans­gen­der fe­male pris­on­ers could be in­te­grated with male pris­on­ers. Again, “bi­o­log­i­cal sex” will de­ter­mine the as­sign­ment of fa­cil­i­ties for trans­gen­der in­mates. The sup­port from the ad­min­is­tra­tion for the Chris­tian baker from Colorado in the gay cake case in the US Supreme Court. It was odd be­cause the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wasn’t a party in the mat­ter.

The fur­ther re­li­gious lib­erty guide­line from lit­tle Jeff Ses­sions this month, which urged gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to read the Con­sti­tu­tion in a way that favoured re­li­gious big­otry. The gov­ern­ment’s stated pref­er­ence that LGBTQIA peo­ple not be in­cluded in the 2020 US Cen­sus.

There are lots more ini­tia­tives along these lines, but that’s enough for

• now. Surely.

RICHARD ACK­LAND is the pub­lisher of Jus­tinian. He is The Sat­ur­day Pa­per’s di­ari­s­tat-large and le­gal af­fairs ed­i­tor.

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