WE KNOW they are incompetent, and the closed ranks around Craig Thomson demonstrate a stomach-turning tolerance for the reeking stink of the walking dead, but those deficiencies in the Gillard government are easy enough to understand. When a mob of congenital campus politicians is promoted above its experience and aptitude, as happened late in 2007, it is only natural its members will bring with them the postures and abstractions they perfected in student union dust-ups over the need to proclaim Parkville and similar precincts sustainable, gay-friendly nuclear-free zones.
As for tolerating the presence on the backbench of the throbbing member for Dobell while simultaneously having Fair Work's lickspittles stall any and all inquiries, well that is has been matter of sheer survival. Starving men have been known to eat their own excrement, and a knife-edge government facing a famine of votes was never going to spit out Thomson, no matter how reluctant his colleagues might be to leave him within unsupervised sniffing distance of a daughter’s bicycle seat. When this mob is swept away, it may even be possible after a period of years to enjoy a good laugh at our current PM’s crew, just as we all do now at Jim Cairns, his absurdist economics and the deceits that surrounded the burlesque fling with Juni Morosi.
But there is one thing decent people will find much harder to forgive or forget, even when time has softened memories: this government’s sleaze and smears. There was a race riot at the Lobby restaurant on Australia Day because some genius thought there were votes to be gained by stirring one up. And today, more of the anything-to-win same. With the help of Channel Ten and a strategic leak, commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy Bruce Kafer's good name is once again being sullied. The brush this time is a snatch lifted from the unedited report into the ADFA Skype scandal.
Now isn’t that just the remarkable coincidence! Channel Ten broadcast the first allegations against Kafer, and today we see it is Channel Ten once again spreading the toxic word. A pair of Ten reporters won a Walkley award for reports that, as we now know, were wrong in element and whole, so the current preference for echoing the original allegations, however feebly, was entirely predictable. It is certainly easier than admitting their Scoop Of The Year trophy was undeserved.
But what of a government that operates this way? Is there no standard of decency it will not violate in the name of cheap advantage? A rhetorical question, obviously.
We have had some low, rum sorts in Canberra over the past century or so, but none can match this polyglot of sleaze which purports to be a government. Unlike cabinet comrade Craig Emerson, Defence Minister Stephen Smith is not known to have slept with our PM, but he has certainly been infected with all the strains of shamelessness that characterise her career, especially the sly use of the knife.
Smith’s office, the obvious source of the latest leak, could put the matter to rest by releasing the final, edited report on the Skype affair. It is the investigation taxpayers funded and whose findings we all have a moral right to examine. But Smith sits on it, his handmaidens in the press add to the calumnies, and where the nation needs adults we get circus clowns.
There is only one remedy, one way to flush the filth.
An election. Now!