Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh, the humanity

As you’d expect, the Howard Government is trying to minimise the fallout from the Santoro “Sharesgate” scandal.

The Prime Minister has sought to distance himself from the stench — other than to say how vewwy vewwy annoyed and angwy he is with Santoro — and has apparently delegated the running commentary on this affair to his ministerial underlings.

Health Minister Tony Abbott notes that, although Santoro’s is a “spectacular fall from grace ... He hasn’t committed any crime, his only offence was to fail to comply with the ministerial disclosure guidelines.”

Having thus finally driven the stake through the heart of the Government’s moribund Ministerial Code of Conduct, Mr Abbott begs that “Santo should now be left alone to get on with his life.” There’s nothing to see here, folks, move along now...

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer invites us to think about Santoro “as a human being.”

As it turns out, the disgraced former Minister of the Crown is all too human. The voting public will, one way or another, come to its own decision as to whether Santoro was negligent, or was all too fastidious, in managing his affairs as a minister. And, given Mr Downer’s negligence with regard to the AWB kickbacks scandal, it’s hardly surprising he would want to lower the bar on standards of ministerial conduct.

At this rate, it won’t be long before this mob drops any pretence to the notion that higher standards are required of those whose privilege it is to serve in public office.


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