JOHN BROWN. How Quickly They Forget – But I Don’t.

Some years back, one of my proudest acts as a Minister for Sport was that I introduced about 10 pieces of legislation into the Parliament to the benefit of sport which were the first pieces of legislation including the word sport introduced since Federation. One of the better pieces of this legislation was a taxation ruling which allows particular classes of people who achieve fluctuating incomes an ability to spread their income over five years. This ruling particularly benefited cricketers who over their career have good years and bad years

Recently David Warner and two other Australian cricketers were found guilty of ball tampering. Warner and Steve Smith were forbidden to play cricket of any kind for 12 months. This meant of course 12 months without an income. Fortunately, given the legislation which I introduced, they could balance that nil income year over 5 year’s earnings. This of course was a great advantage to them in particular.

When I introduced that legislation back in the mid 80’s, John Howard was the Leader of the Opposition. As leader, he opposed every piece of legislation on sport I introduced. I spent many days courting the ‘Democrats’ in the Senate for their support to have these legislative acts approved. The act which gave professional sports men and women and others with fluctuating incomes the five year spread of their tax liabilities was opposed by the opposition. Howard in particular was a vociferous critic of this particular concession. As with all the other pieces of sport legislation which he opposed, her referred to them as “cost to the revenue”. Imagine my surprise when I saw Howard, the alleged ‘cricket tragic’ on a visit to Lords for the recent ashes test in a warm embrace from David Warner. I give these modern cricketers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Howard and his self-assumed role as a cricket tragic. His Parliamentary record is a dismal statement of his absolute ignorance of sport and a reluctance to allow any legislative support for sport generally.

John Howard gained great support in the community for his action on the buyout of guns. I recognize that achievement. On every other aspect of his Parliamentary career, I can find nothing but negatives. He us the world’s leading hypocrite.

Isn’t this the man who led Australia on a lie about ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction into the war in Iraq? This war not only cost Australian lives but the infamy of Australia’s involvement lingers on in the eyes of the world. His fellow conspirators (the willing of the three) Tony Blair and George W Bush have subsequently apologized for their action and have recognized that their part in this horrid folly was not only a mistake but a mortal sin. Howard however refuses to apologize and still justifies his dishonest actions.

Isn’t Howard the person who perpetuated that disgraceful lie about children overboard and his part in the world wide embarrassment we suffered as a nation over the Tampa dispute?

Isn’t Howard the man who refuses to recognize the truth of the forgotten generation? Refuse to be part of the sorry march when most of his colleagues joined the public celebration?

Isn’t Howard one of the gang of three with Downer and Vaile, his senior Ministers who perpetuated the scandal of the wheat board selling Australian wheat through a sham company in Egypt to Saddam Hussein when Australian soldiers were dying in Iraq?

Isn’t John Howard the man who decided before the International Olympic Committee denied him the opportunity in the absence of the Queen that he personally would open the Sydney Olympic Games.

Isn’t John Howard the man who was promoted to be the President of the International Cricket Board?

Is it also not a fact that all the non-white members of the British Commonwealth cricket countries decided “no siree”.

There are many more examples I can quote of this man’s hypocrisy and carelessness for the truth. I think however the two things that annoy me most are his gall in wanting to be a sports lover when his record of lack of support in the parliament is abysmal. I only hope that these cricketers who greeted him so warmly will one day learn of his total lack of credibility in this area was manifest well before these modern day cricketers knew of his failure. At least humorously they have seen the efforts of the cricket tragic on television giving the world those wonderful examples of his cricketing skill.

John Brown was a minister in the Hawke Government

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