March 17th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor elections: Australia's role

EDITORIAL: East Timor's democratic alternative

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Can Kevin Rudd handle the heat?

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat's single selling-desk under threat

QUARANTINE: Parliament must not shirk its responsibility

STRAWS IN THE WIND: He knew not what he done, guv ... / Bring back our demonstrators - official! / Inspector Rex meets Robert Mugabe / The Balibo Five

MERCHANTS OF SLEAZE: Destroying our daughters' innocence

ABORTION: Winning over women one at a time

OPINION: Freedom of speech under threat

GOOD READING: We still need tales of bravery and heroism

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Rare mineral's use in miniaturised gadgets

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Angling for a greater role on the world stage

Anti-Americanism (letter)

Green radicalism (letter)

Green hoaxes (letter)

BOOKS: AMERICA ALONE: The end of the world as we know it, by Mark Steyn

BOOKS: THE GREAT WAR, by Les Carlyon

Books promotion page

He knew not what he done, guv ... / Bring back our demonstrators - official! / Inspector Rex meets Robert Mugabe / The Balibo Five

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, March 17, 2007
He knew not what he done, guv ...

We talked, almost fortuitously, about Kevin Rudd in the last issue ("Rudd's credibility", News Weekly, March 3, 2007), and I raised some doubts about his grasp of political reality.

As the fall-out from his Brian Burke connections continues, and amplifies - despite all the suppression orders by our commercial media - this is to be the new defence being mounted by Labor of the extraordinary conduct of their present leader:

Kevin didn't realise he was walking into a lion's den. Kevin didn't know that the Western Australian Premier had forbidden his state Labor MPs to talk to Burke. And he didn't know that his own then leader Kim Beazley had ruled out meetings with the convicted felon.

Rudd should have known - I suppose. But put it down to inexperience. Anyway, it's just a beat-up, as some of the commercial stations keep repeating.

The most frightening thing coming out of the WA Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) inquiry is not only that three ministers and an unknown number of MPs have been captured, but the WA Government had set up a parliamentary inquiry - at Burke's suggestion - then allowed the findings to be tampered with.

Now that is real power! It appears that Brian Burke had created - or was on the way to creating - a state within a state.

Is WA unique? Could it not happen anywhere? In Victoria, for example?

The only reason that this most audacious scheme to seize control of a government, and a state, was aborted, was the existence and activity of an anti-corruption body, the CCC, in WA - one armed with sweeping powers, completely independent and well funded.

The memory of the original WA Inc. had set off a demand for such a body in Western Australia, and it has paid off handsomely - as it most certainly would in other states.

Let us suppose that Burke really had captured Rudd, who then went on to win the election. Into what kind of condition might Australia not sink?

But Burke didn't capture him, we are told. Good. But who says, though?

I'll just say that the Labor Party, for one, have every reason to be furious with their new leader, whom they now know, if they didn't know before, is someone they cannot trust.

I'm sure that given their time over again, the party would not have supported Rudd.

At this stage, the most amusing part of all of this is the conduct of the media. The only outlet which has in any way been performing the duty of reporting what has actually been said, and done, has been the ABC.

Some of its members - the older ones - are obviously True Believers, and it showed. For some little time they were shocked and disgusted, and certainly saw all the implications.

No doubt the shock will wear off, and it will be back to full-time propaganda again. Perhaps Dr Carmen Lawrence has rung them, and told them to just forget it.

The commercial stations are different. I've rarely seen a more dishonest and semi-incomprehensible treatment of such a momentous issue. There are, I think, a number of reasons why our commercial outlets were so primitive.

With the changes in the media laws, a great deal of corporate jostling, with many takeovers and swapping, is on the cards, and some operators seem to have placed their bets on Labor seeing things their way.

Then, there are those who, while pro-Howard, would like to be able to threaten him at any time. The weaker his Opposition is, the stronger he is.

Then there are those wanting a daily story/sensation until November; a kind of magic pudding for lazy editors. And think of all those designer opinion polls already taken and waiting in the pipeline!

Howard and Costello are close to shooting the Fox, after which time, no fox-hunting!

But there are times when history seems to move of its own accord, and one such time is now.

I'm trying to write this piece on a Sunday (March 4), a week before News Weekly comes out. And what a week it could be!

Take today. Senator Ian Campbell has resigned as Minister for Human Services - correctly, I think.

As a Western Australian politician, he would have known - must have known - about Burke, about Julian Grill and the extent of their influence. And what kind of influence!

But an absolute torrent of crocodile tears about poor Ian Campbell, and cruel ruthless John Howard for sacking him, is flowing as I write. And this to take the place of what the Opposition leader has been doing. Not a good omen.

Rudd has been reacting to these pressures - instigated by his past activities - very poorly. He started off by demanding a television debate with John Howard. Why?

He then called for a referendum to judge between his character and John Howard's. (How can referendums be put on like this?).

Now he's calling for an immediate election. Is this normal behaviour? Let us hope he faces Parliament - which is the Tribune of the people.

Labor has a big problem there.

Bring back our demonstrators - official!

The Victorian Labor Government of Steve Bracks has just concluded a secret deal with 47 demonstrators who have claimed ill-treatment by Melbourne police during the great S11 protests outside Crown Casino in 2000.

A sum of $700,000 is mentioned as compensation. The Police Association of Victoria, quite naturally, is incensed. But this is politics - Bracks-style. Victorian police officers are being "counselled" for their sins.

This legitimises violent demonstrations from now on and creates a new subculture of lawyers - demonstration law. (And special magistrates?). And this at a time when the political demonstration had lost all traction, all support and all credibility in Victoria.

The three nights' (so far) rioting in peaceful Copenhagen by local hoons, reinforced by foreign hoons, shows the results of previous Danish toleration of these creatures, and the draconian measures now needed to counter them.

Doubtless, new litigation offensives - state government-backed - will be directed at our police. Including their handling of the demonstrations that Mark Lopez and I have reported over the years in News Weekly.

A stiff price to pay for green preferences, you might say, and a new stage in the collapse of government.

Here we have a philosophy whereby a government pays people, retrospectively, to attack its own institutions and its own servants carrying out its duties. And the total disruption of commercial and social activities wherever and whenever these totally fabricated demonstrations occur.

Victoria's first nihilist government.

Inspector Rex meets Robert Mugabe

The Academy Awards have come and gone, leaving nary a trace in the sand.

Helen Mirren in The Queen could not be denied, but now we may expect a spate of new beat-ups, even films, on Princess Di's behalf. The nihilists never give up.

Apropos of which, the film Blood Diamond, reviewed in News Weekly (February 17, 2007), and subject of a number of earlier nominations, finished nowhere - in fact, was not mentioned.

The Mandela factor? (See my piece, "Diamonds are an African's worst friend", News Weekly, January 20, 2007).

But all is not lost. The German Film Festival people who make Hollywood look like the Delphic Oracle are talking of a new film - the early life of Nelson Mandela. That is, his period in jail when Margaret Thatcher described him as a communist thug.

Anyway, he turns his English jailer around to agree with him and the black cause.

A nice story, if true, but rather like the sub-plot of the now semi-invisible Blood Diamond.

The Germans made it clear that the new film will be the centrepiece of the next big Teutonic bash - although I'm not sure how many had actually viewed the new Mandela film when we got the news.

Seeing that every film seems to have a sequel nowadays, might we not expect the full revolutionary life of Mrs Winnie Mandela, his comrade-in-arms? Round about then, the krauts might decide to stop the camera.

Finally ... what about Inspector Rex meets Robert Mugabe ... and turns him around ... and around and around?

The silver screen! Where we realise all our dreams.

The Balibo Five

One of the better-kept pieces of information - it's out there, but the public hasn't yet taken it in - is that Gough Whitlam, his Defence Minister Bill Morrison and the relevant heads of their departments at the time of the 1975 killing of the five journalists in Balibo, East Timor, are to give evidence at the NSW coronial inquiry into the death of one of these journalists.

Whitlam has already had talks with the people assisting the inquiry. An ex-Australian security operative at the time has said he sent an urgent message to Canberra telling them of the massacre which had just occurred.

Canberra acknowledged it, but said that he was on an unguarded line - in other words, shut up!

The then Labor Government hinted that they did know of these murders at the time but didn't say anything because they didn't want the Indonesians to know about our security network. Really?

I don't see Whitlam's successor, Malcolm Fraser, or any of his people cited for attendance, though presumably they would have been informed by their predecessors.

Our political Left have a dilemma here. They would like to see justice done and reparation made; many of them would like to poison the Australian-Indonesian relationship - especially if they are working for the West Papua, Aceh or people-smuggling interests, but ... impugn the Icon himself and the last days of the golden Whitlam era?

And the same would appear to Malcolm Fraser. The Left must be experiencing what for them is a new, unfamiliar sensation - that is, a moral problem, and the choice between human rights and realpolitik.

Enjoy it, fellas. But don't bother telling us about it.

- Max Teichmann

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