The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Howard’s hacks’ Hicks hoax a hex?

Apparently I’ve been ‘slapped down’ at Slattsnews for advocating application of the principles of law in the David Hicks case. Howard has shot himself in the foot over this one. It is a fundamental contradiction eating away at the heart of Howard’s Australian Values debate – a debate that would normally work in the government’s favour as a wedge over multiculturalism.

Bernard Slattery, former Geelong Advertiser journalist and current moderator at Andrew Bolt’s blog, suggests:

Go into the supermarkets, the offices, the factories, the bars, the congregation-increasing churches, and the response is almost unanimous — who gives a . . .?
He is a prisoner of war who was prepared to kill Australians and their allies. The war is not over.

The ensuing commentary got me to reflecting on the Hicks issue and how it’s playing out in the Aussie heartland Slattery presumes to speak for:

We can cite any amount of hearsay about Hicks, but the matter can only be resolved in a court of law. The US has released detainees when it has found them to be US citizens. It doesn’t wash with the democratic sentiments of US voters.

This issue is not about Hicks, however much some people venting their angry spleens may wish it otherwise. Endless cant about how evil Hicks is and therefore deserves his fate – serve him right, the lowlife – is irrelevant. It is simply about the principles of law and justice which are pillars of our democratic society and essential to Australian values.

No-one here has addressed that issue. Just lots of “Guilty – hang him”. That’s not how we do things in this country, and it’s what previous generations of Australians have fought and died for. Mob rule tends to be barbaric and rarely just or wise, as indeed may be the reign of a dictator or monarch. That’s why we have due process for everyone, no matter how despicable we may believe or need them to be.

As Michelle Grattan’s turning on Howard today illustrates, the government is on a hiding to nothing on this one. Howard has played the Hicks issue to the max in garnering support for his government’s reckless involvement in an illegal invasion as part of the great US corporate neo-con foreign policy experiment called ‘the war on terror’. We don’t talk about that much any more, ‘cos it ain’t going too well right now.

As part of his tactic to divide Australian people over our multi-cultural reality is Howard’s metaphorical ‘Anglo Saxon call to arms’ in the name of Australian values, a fair go, and the Flag. That makes republican-minded folk a little nervous around voting time.

But the tactic is failing, because people’s sentiment to the war in Iraq is souring to government-changing proportions, and he’s being undermined by the Hicks issue.

Aussie means fair go, and that implies the right to be charged, evidence heard, guilt determined from the presumption of innocence until sufficient evidence has been proved to the contrary. Yep, that’s a fair go. Hicks was captured while waiting for a bus for chrissakes, not under hostile fire.

Howard’s shot himself in the foot on this one. No amount of hysterical ranting and raving is going to change this. If anything, it only further adds to the disenchantment of Australian voters. Fairfax are going to play this one every day until the election.

In the meantime, enjoy another’s suffering while you can boys.

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Filed under: Australian values, Nonsense, Politics

One Response

  1. Actually, your argument that there should be a trial is wrong.

    Hicks has admitted bearing arms for the Taliban. The fact that he was not in combat when captured is irrelevant.

    The USA has the right to hold Hicks as a POW, definitely until the war against the Taliban is over, and possibly until the war against Islamofascism is over.

    But to try him as an unlawful combatant, they must first of all place him in front of a ‘competent tribunal’ which must rule if he is a lawful or unlawful combatant.

    Hamdan v Rumsfeld (pdf file) seems to indicate that the US Supreme Court may, if it wishes, rule on whether such a competent tribunal is legally valid.

    See the discussion at Slattsnews where I dispute some of the assertions there.

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