Friday, February 09, 2007

PM’s definitive pronouncements praised

In a previous post, I quoted the following statement by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, on the legal status of the US military commission to be faced by the Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks:

We believe the arrangements for the military commission meet the reasonable requirements of Australian law.

After scratching my head for some time trying to unpack that enigmatic formulation, I think I may have cracked it. What the PM, I think, was trying to say was that:

Such military commissions, being conducted at Guantanamo Bay (hence, outside of Australian sovereign territory), and being constituted by an act of the US Congress (hence, not by an Australian Parliament), do not contravene Australian law, and therefore may safely be assumed to “meet the reasonable requirements of Australian law.”

Australians all will be relieved that their Prime Minister has this vexed issue so authoritatively in hand.

And, naturally, many of us will also be grateful to the PM for taking the time out of his busy day to give football fans the benefit of his assessment of the new AFL broadcasting deal:

Today Mr Howard told Southern Cross Radio he understands why some fans feel put out by the delayed free-to-air coverage.

“It doesn’t breach the anti-siphoning laws,” Mr Howard said.

“It’s a commercial deal involving the AFL and obviously that is a matter that ... people who are unhappy have got to pursue with the AFL.”

“But I can understand a little bit of unease about it.”

This will stand as the definitive appraisal of the AFL deal. Moreover, the ABC online news service is to be congratulated for so prominently headlining this crucial Prime Ministerial communiqué.


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