Message ignored

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 01:44 pm

Liberal wimp John Valder demands that the Prime Minister follow public opinion:

Don’t forget, Mr Howard, that if ever there is a terrorist attack in Australia, it is you personally who must take the lion’s share of the blame for it as a result of your rushing to support George Bush in the Iraq war. Remember how you flew in the very face of public opinion, as evidenced by those huge street marches back in February 2003, and whose clear message you just chose to ignore.

Possibly because he was listening to other, more coherent messages, from people who aren’t into street puppetry and dirt baths. Here’s Tony Wright in this week’s Bulletin:

A month ago, The Bulletin pointed out during a long interview with Prime Minister John Howard that he had copped strong criticism for proposing draconian anti-terrorist legislation.

Howard blinked and declared: “Not in the community, I haven’t.”

From commentators, then, The Bulletin persisted.

The prime minister gave one of his knowing looks.

“Oh, very much so,” he volunteered happily. “It’s a commentariat issue. The public has worked it out. The public is very much in support of what we’re doing.”

John Howard is rarely so comfortable as when he believes the public is on side and “the commentariat”, by which he means the left-leaning chattering class, is at odds with him.

Less than a fortnight later, the favoured newspapers of those same chattering classes, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, published a poll that agreed overwhelmingly with his view.

“Voters say yes to terror Australis,” the front page of the Herald screamed. The poll found that three-quarters of the voting publicthought it was fine to lock up suspected terrorists without charge, put them under house arrest or shackle them with tracking devices.

The Herald later corrected that figure; seems only 66% suppported Howard. Still, that’s a much bigger slice of Australian opinion than represented by 2003’s skanky marchers. As Valder—who evidently suffers Margolian spelling issues—might say, this “encpasulates” just how “seriusly” the public regards terrorism.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/08/2005 at 11:43 PM
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