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The Forum > Article Comments > Focus on smoking gun obscures collective fault > Comments

Focus on smoking gun obscures collective fault : Comments

By Richard Mulgan, published 13/4/2006

The fundamental question, largely ignored, is: what was government policy towards the UN oil-for-food program?

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The Canberra camorra has been getting away with incompetence and canting for years. If we introduce standards for our politicians heavens knows where it would end. We might even see the raids on the public purse come to an end.

Are we ready for such honesty?
Posted by Sage, Thursday, 13 April 2006 9:54:17 AM
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The resposibility for this affair is the belief that broadacre low yield farming is good. Damn salinity problems,damn soil degradation,no worries, the mugs in Canberra will cover up for us.We are all for rural socialism as long as we can make a quick buck or two. Saddam will keep quiet.And if we have to sacrifice a son or two keep him quiet so be it.Mum the word okay.
Posted by Vioetbou, Thursday, 13 April 2006 11:15:42 AM
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What absolute rubbish. The Cole enquiry was established as the result of a request from the U.N. The government should be congratulated for its establishment and because the Howard Haters wanted a different focus they have been "ringing their hands" in criticism ever since.

The things that Kevin Rudd wanted in the terms of reference are the things that he should be doing in the political arena. He knows that he can't do that and so wants a Royal Commission to try to do the job that he has failed to do.
Posted by Sniggid, Thursday, 13 April 2006 12:02:43 PM
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The new age of economic rationalism allows whatever seems appropriate for profit and the market will determine its economic value. However markets particularly political. depend on so many other factors for acceptability in the market place. A win is good business an eventual loss even of face is a loss of not just money.
In this case political or other advantage is lost if originally gained using a lack of integrity or incompetence whilst profitable at the time but subsequently shown to be in breach of some rule. Though of course such misuse of integrity may well be overlooked by the market if success ensues.
Here with political (market) good name at stake a loss of face is a cost to the enterprise thus the judgement as to whether the actions will emerge publicly is of real concern. Maybe a competitor will gain.
The Government boobed not only by being found out but further. It showed incompetence in demonstrating that ministerís are too busy to read what they should or this being excessive, arrange their departments so that the important or so considered items are flagged. Or if it is to be a presidential system, such matters presented at this level. Neither occurred.
Time enough to jump on rorts of industrial law but not the commercial necessity of being seen to supervise all activities. Here supervision was expressly placed, by the UN, as the responsibility of the country to which the commercial enterprise belonged.
As Downer and Howard have averred the UN is incompetent and rule should be by the strong, they believe, in this case apparently the commercial market for wheat or a part of it, the American wheat growers.
The actions pertain to moral behaviour and to an overseas country blackguarded by this Government and thus any electoral backlash is most improbable, sport and entertainment more interesting. Unless that is the sale of wheat at maximum profitability is not maintained. Here time will tell and the dollar not integrity will rule.
Posted by untutored mind, Thursday, 13 April 2006 2:18:16 PM
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The focus of the Cole commission was to determine if the AWB violated any laws. The governments responsibility is to determine if laws have been broken and prosecute the violators.

If the various law enforcement regimes in our country were to be tossed out on their ear every time a violator was not caught there would be no body left standing to catch the violators.

Can we try to put some rationale to the governments role? The news this morning indicated that the PM receives about 2,250,000 cables per year. About half are no more than news releases. There has also been a fair amount of contempt from the American and Canadian wheat growers because they think we were winning more than our share of the Iraq wheat business. In this maelstrom and cacophony of paper, claim and counterclaim there were 4 or 5 cables during the year (21 cables divided by 5 years) that alluded to a potential problem with the AWB and kickbacks. No proof, nor smoking gun nor evidence that could be given to the AFP for follow-up.

I defy any of the readers to say they would have connected the dots.
Posted by Bruce, Thursday, 13 April 2006 6:06:31 PM
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If a Minister (let alone Deputy Prime Minister) is as incompetent as Mr Vaile appears to be in supervising his Department, surely it is time for the Prime Minister to replace him. Mr Downer, should be next in the queue to leave the Ministry, given his performance at today's hearing of the Cole Commission.
My memory is starting to deteriorate. Does that mean I will soon qualify to be a Cabinet Minister if I can secure a safe electorate?
Posted by Hercules, Thursday, 13 April 2006 6:45:18 PM
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