Tuesday, 25th February 2014

OLD WOUNDS

The Coalition's pursuit of Labor was entirely understandable and justifiable when it was in Opposition. Using the power and privileges of government to continue to flog old wounds risks looking not only petty but vindictive.

The Coalition launched a royal commission into the home insulation scheme in a fairly transparent attempt to tar the previous government with the workplace deaths of four young men. Numerous inquiries had already been conducted, and the flaws of the program are now clearly understood.

But the Coalition won't rest until it has exploited the issue to the utmost, even breaking accepted bipartisan practice by releasing the previous government's Cabinet documents to the royal commission – on the orders of Tony Abbott.

In another unusual move, the Liberal Party is sponsoring a parliamentary motion of apology to Health Services Union workers for the "egregious falsehoods" uttered by former Labor MP Craig Thomson following his misuse of union funds.

Apologies in parliament are generally reserved for such things as Stolen Generations, but the Coalition would have us believe that it cares so greatly for the welfare and feelings of HSU workers that it is willing to set this precedent. The real reason, of course, is to embarrass anyone in the ALP with union links.

If the government had shown any inclination to hold its own sitting MPs to account it might be justified in pursuing its opponents so blatantly. But Coalition MPs travel rorts were never addressed, for example; Senator Nash recently misled the Senate over the health-labelling issue and faced no censure; and Scott Morrison is a law unto himself.

The Coalition seems to believe that when it is voted out of office, its opponents won't have the whip hand. 

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

Sign up to get Politicoz delivered
to your email address every weekday at lunch time.

Qantas set to axe 5000 jobs and sell its Melbourne Airport terminal to negotiate federal assistance

"Qantas is gearing up to axe 5000 jobs and sell its terminal at Melbourne Airport to prove to the Abbott Government it can make the tough business decisions required to obtain federal assistance. The airline may also take the razor to its budget offshoot Jetstar, slashing jobs and routes, as it lobbies the Government to provide it with a lifesaving debt guarantee."

Tony Abbott ordered cabinet documents to go to royal commission

"Cabinet documents from the previous Labor government have been handed over to the royal commission into the home insulation scheme on the orders of the prime minister, Tony Abbott. The revelation that the documents had been transferred nearly a month ago came to light during Senate estimates committee hearings on Monday. The attorney general, George Brandis, said earlier in the day he was not aware any documents had been handed over."

AlsoKilling Cabinet confidentiality destroys democracy (George Williams, SMH)

Labor won’t fight Craig Thomson apology motion

"Labor will not oppose a parliamentary motion apologising for 'egregious falsehoods' uttered by convicted former MP Craig Thomson during a now infamous speech proclaiming his innocence. The unusual, Liberal-sponsored motion will also apologise to Health Services Union members for Thomson’s spending $267,000 of union funds."

Armed locals let into Manus Island detention centre: witness

"A witness to violence at the Manus Island detention centre last Monday night says guards from the security firm G4S allowed locals armed with makeshift weapons into the facility."

AlsoFormer Sri Lankan military officer Dinesh Perera now acting operations manager of Manus Island detention centre (ABC, via Asher Wolf)

AndTransfield Services shares soar after it wins offshore detention centre contract while PNG staff to keep security jobs at Manus Island detention centre (The Age)

Sovereignty

"The last six years have shown that what asylum seekers have more to be concerned about is an insecure, out of control, political class that targets the most vulnerable to make itself look in command."

Also: The latest polls (AFR)