06 January 2008

Too hard for Mirabella

In this piece, Sophie Mirabella has sought to define the Liberal Party's way forward by taking a cudgel (yes, the same cudgel she accuses Fraser of using) to Malcolm Fraser. The Opposition spokesperson on local government is showing that she really needs a life.

She takes Bush on face value and, worst of all, plays no part in helping define a post-Howard Liberal Party. The editor of The Age should refuse to publish anything by a Liberal MP that doesn't address their current situation or the post-Howard future.
Fraser lauded Mao for the policies that "secured the basic necessities of life to China's people". But there was no reference in the PM's eulogy to the 750,000 victims slaughtered during the Cultural Revolution. And never was heard a discouraging word about the 20 million Chinese who perished unnecessarily during the botched Great Leap Forward.

All Australian governments, Liberal or Labor, have to keep schtumm about China's appalling record on human rights. Fraser did it, Hawke and Keating did, Howard did, and Rudd will, too.

Try and get Brendan Nelson to bag Mao, Sophie. You could if you were that fired up. Go to those Amnesty meetings with people like Marise Payne or Brett Mason and agitate for a strenuous denunciation of Mao and his successors. After Kerry Nettle leaves Parliament in July, who else is going to do it? Leverage your position as local government spokesperson to block sister-city agreements with that blood-drenched land. To fail to do as much as you can would be hypocritical; but you knew that.

Somewhere in Indi is a small business that exports a small amount of stuff to China and employs a number of locals do so. An intemperate outburst from a bleeding-heart like you is all that's required to cancel that contract.

Tip for next time: it detracts from genuine outrage for the slaughtered millions to use a line from Home on the range:
... Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

I can only assume that she had this piece written for her; the Sophie Mirabella I knew would never have alluded to a song written by three American lefties about the environment, especially not on such a (mass-)grave issue. When the fifth columnists have captured Sophie Mirabella, you know it's all over.
But in his rage against the Bush machine, Fraser played so fast and loose with the truth he lent himself to caricature as just another frothing-at-the-mouth leftie.

No he didn't, he was calm and measured. He showed to everyone except you that you don't have to be a frothing-at-the-mouth leftie to be disappointed with the Bush Administration. If that's the only characterisation available to you, it speaks to the sheer poverty of your political outlook.
He sinned by omission through his cowardly failure to address the realities of communist evil.

The man was Army Minister and Defence Minister during wars against communist evil. He's earned his stripes. It would have been convenient for if if communism disappeared just after he got out of uni, as happened with you and me, but there you go.

Besides: it's God who decides who's a sinner and who isn't, not the member for Indi.
And Fraser's contention that "evidence achieved by torture was to be admitted" — presumably by US military commissions — reflects either intellectual sloppiness or deliberate dishonesty. It took me only moments to locate section 948r(b) of the Military Commissions Act (2006) that declares: "A statement obtained by the use of torture shall not be admissible in a military commission."

It shouldn't have taken you much longer to find out that what the US government defines as torture is not what reasonable people like Malcolm Fraser define it as - remember, this was the man who learned his lesson from Operation Phoenix.
Fraser throws veracity to the wind in his wild campaign to hurl mud

No Sophie, it's bug-eyed rhetoric like this that shows you're overreacting to a speech made months ago under different political circumstances to those we face now. We know you're upset that former Prime Ministers are allowed to speak. I notice you don't go Whitlam or Keating - that would be partisan. If you go overboard like that, people will think you're a nut.
Case in point: the evidentiary standards used by US military tribunals. Fraser considers the admission of "hearsay evidence that could not be checked or verified" to be an outrageous travesty of justice. At least when Americans do it.

But the UN's war crimes tribunals routinely accept hearsay because they recognise that the chaos of combat precludes adherence to conventional rules of criminal procedure. An active battlefield cannot be isolated with yellow tape and evidence can't be bagged, tagged and registered in the middle of a fire-fight.

And yet Fraser fails to criticise the UN's use of those self-same evidentiary rules ...

Well, when anyone does it really. Countries that respect the rule of law operate systems of military justice that don't rely on the same standards as civil jurisdictions, and it was silly to imply otherwise. Hearsay is a weak justification for a sentence, and those that rely on it are justifiably suspect. Please provide proof of UN military commissions and their rules of evidence, Sophie.
French statesman Charles Talleyrand

Talleyrand was not exactly big on the rule of law, was he? What do you mean, your checking didn't go beyond a book of quotations?
... now deployed to undermine the American-led war effort against jihadi Islam.

Black ops, including convictions by hearsay, do not work against fake militant Islam: it strengthens it by sinking to its level. It is not an implicit defence of fake militant Islam to say that the Americans could and should do better in attacking it.
In fact, America brings to mind the famous Churchillian quip that democracy was the worst system of government on Earth, except for all the other types that have been tried.

You can't string together a political philosophy with a few quips and cliches excerpts from a book of quotations. It isn't good enough when Greg Barns does it and it makes you look silly too. It certainly won't help you in developing policy on local government. The more you sulk over one speech three months ago, the less effective you'll be in your 'portfolio' - and if you keep it up it is you who will have ...
... forfeited any claim to be taken seriously in public debate.

Not that this will affect your ability to keep on winning Liberal preselection, though.

Update 13/1/08: Peter Vickery takes Mirabella apart on legal and human rights issues.


  1. Hear, hear, Andrew. A reasoned criticism of Mirabella's...erm..."unexpected" article. I'm surprised there hasn't been more reaction to it - it really seemed to come from nowhere, was highly disrespectful of a former leader of her party, and, as you have nicely pointed out, seemed high on outrage, low on actual, well, anything else. Incidentally, do we know what Fraser's deputy, Honest John, and the rest of the Liberal party were doing during his shameful capitulation to the communists?

  2. You're referring to the man who addressed the school for Communist Party cadres - something Jim Cairns or Lance Sharkey never did.