Cry me a scandal: Tear storms and showers of deceit in the Canberra Bubble

Mar 28, 2021

Linda Reynolds, the Defence Minister, is crying. Christian Porter, the Attorney-General, is crying. “Holidays” Morrison is bubbling away. It’s very depressing. I hope they are going to be OK.

What is Linda crying about? Well, it’s the Higgins case, isn’t it? Her medical certificate runs out on 2 April and the smart money is on her retiring from politics. If she stays on, she will be the fifth wheel in a government that has reached the bottom of the barrel of goodwill.

I’m more interested in what Linda is not crying about. Why isn’t she crying about how she and her team in Defence seriously mishandled the submarine contract with the French Naval Group, with the final submarine not to be delivered until 2054? No tears in that wastage of taxpayer funds? What about the emerging budget overspill on Australia’s $45 billion Future Frigate Program? Or the recent delivery of sub-standard Chinese aluminium that resulted in the delayed delivery of the Royal Australian Navy’s new $350 million evolved Cape Class patrol boats? Are these worth a tear or two, Linda?

Then there is Christian Porter, our failed Attorney-General and bon vivant dancer around Canberra. We know what this arrogant man is not crying about. The list is long. Topping it is the deliberately drawn-out courtroom persecution of Witness “K” and his advocate, Bernard Collaery. As a Crikey investigation found, former Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer ordered ASIS to “bug the cabinet rooms of the Timor-Leste government in 2004 in order to give Australia an advantage over the fledgling state in negotiations over resources in the Timor Sea.”

A dry-eyed Porter signed off on the prosecution persecution of Witness “K” and Bernard Collaery for revealing ASIS’ crime. Two years on and 43 court appearances later, there is still no end in sight. What an obscenity!

Then there is “Holidays” Morrison, our Prime Minister. He is in on the crocodile tears big time. At his press conference on 23 March, he managed to cry about the sexual assaults in Parliament House. Then he told the world that it had been a “traumatic” time for him. “Traumatic”? Really Scotty? Maybe “difficult” or “reflective”, but “traumatic”? Now as a victim, he addressed the press conference:

“Criticise me if you like for speaking about my daughters, but they are the centre of my life. My wife is the centre of my life. My mother, my widowed mother is the centre of my life. They motivate me every day on this issue. They have motivated me my entire life, they have taught me the values and the faith has sustains me every single day in this job.”

For (the Pentecostal) God’s sake! As one placard at the women’s rally on 15 March read, “So, I have to be your wife or daughter for my rights to matter”.

At the same press conference, after the last Kleenex was binned, “Holidays” got all manlike and sent a lie onto the journalists’ pads. A terrible sexual violation had just happened in a toilet at Sky News, he claimed. So, stop looking at me and look at them! Ten hours later, when Australia was asleep, he posted “I deeply regret my insensitive response to a question from a News Ltd journalist by making an anonymous reference to an incident at News Ltd that has been rejected by the company.” Nuh! Not even a nice try. Scotty, you just weaponised sexual assault again and you still don’t get it.

Yes, “Holidays” is in on the crying game when it suits him. He is also never afraid to put a pipe bender on the truth, as this exchange in the House on 22 March so clearly shows:

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition): Can the Prime Minister confirm that, in fact, no inquiries were being made and no work was being done on the Gaetjens inquiry? Can the Prime Minister confirm that he had known this for nine full days before he misled the parliament?

Prime Minister: The inquiry [by PM&C Secretary Gaetjen into what the Prime Minister’s Office knew about the Higgin’s matter] has been undertaken at arm’s length, and I look forward to that inquiry being completed. You will have seen today in Senate estimates that the secretary, as I said he would be, was in attendance. He was in a position to answer questions in relation to the inquiry he is conducting. I look forward to that being done as quickly as it can be and being completed so a report can be provided. I advise the House that he has not provided me with a further update about when I might expect that report.

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition). The secretary [Gaetjen] has given evidence to the Senate today [22 March] that he told the Prime Minister on 9 March that he was putting his inquiry on hold…He had halted his inquiry into what the Prime Minister’s office knew about the reported sexual assault in Parliament House, but the commissioner of the Federal Police has given clear evidence to the Senate today that he did not tell the secretary to ‘stall, pause or alter his investigation’.

Criers and truth-benders as national representatives!

Yes, “Holidays” is both these things. But what makes him different from his secular criers and truth-benders is that he is a proud and professed man of God. In a previous article, I struggled with this. I am not ready yet to call him a hypocrite.

I will stick my neck out and say maybe he has a “convenient” relationship with his God. I envisage him in his Pentecostal church in Sutherland on the Sunday after he weaponed sexual assault and bent the truth about the Gaetjens inquiry.

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