Friday 26th June – 7 months, 10 days
The fucking Ozcar idiocy (a.k.a. ‘Utegate’, argh) has been knocked off the news. I’m quite sorry that Michael Jackson’s gone to the great recording studio in the sky, particularly for his kids; however I would like to thank him for at least timing his untimely death to knock the bloody OzCar ‘scandal’ (more like ‘Turnbull obviously doesn’t know when to shut the hell up’ fiasco) out of the news cycle. Likewise Farrach Fawcett (God rest her blondie locks).
And let’s not forget our own Xanana, who did his bit by apparently – oopsie – giving a big rice-importing contract to a company which his daughter is a major stakeholder in. (In Timorese government, apparently there is a rule about not giving contracts to family members to the second degree.) Something I’ve enjoyed about the reporting of this particular scandal*is the apparent unconcern which other Government members are treating this with. Quotes (as close as I can get) from Radio Australia:
Jose Ramos-Horta, Timorese President: In our political system the president does not have executive authority. I cannot everyday interfere in the government; if that is what I do, might as well run for Prime Minister.
Emilia Pires, Minister for Finance: I’m not familiar with all the names… People have rights to be wherever they are…Why should I bother about that? Like, I’m a minister. ... [That’s the Prime Minister], By the time it gets to the minister, it should be cleared of all the processes.
Of course, we have to allow for the fact that English isn’t the first language of either of these people; and I think it’s more the case that they’re trying to distance themselves (like any good President or Finance Minister), rather than that they don’t care. It’s just interesting to compare to the kind of carefully-crafted, polished denials, blustering lines or flat-out refusal to comment you’d probably hear from Aussie politicians. Xanana hasn’t said anything so far, though – to which I say, smart move, mate. Maybe you can give Malcolm a few tips?
- And I think this does actually qualify for the title ‘scandal’, as well as a few other exciting nouns which have been used by the opposition, such as ‘corruption’, ‘nepotism’ and ‘favouritism’, although I kind of fear for the future of Timor if Our Xanana were made to resign. In any case, a few members of the Australian Government and quite a lot of the Australian meeja would do well to note key differences between this scandal and the Ozcar ‘scandal’. See also recent resignations of, oh, loads of British ministers.