||Issue No. 221||21 May 2004|
Interview: Machine Man
Unions: Testing Times
Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
Unions: Badge of Honour
National Focus: Noel's World
Economics: Safe Refuge
International: Global Abuse
History: The Honeypot
Review: Death And The Barbarians
Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Ah, what a fine thing an open transparent democracy is. We must try it sometime.
Our Tool Of the Week demonstrated how to politically shoot oneself in the foot this week by trying to muzzle media outlet Today Tonight who were rather keen to run a story about her recent fact finding.
Trish Draper is just one of many politicians who have found themselves out and about fact finding. Finding facts is one of the things politicians do. Apparently there are a lot of facts to be found in five star hotels.
In fact, our Tool Of The Week ran up $10 000 worth of facts on her jaunt to Europe with her...umm...friend.
Draper is not just a Tool simply for taking a "friend" on a taxpayer funded junket, or even because the government closed ranks to defend her rather dubious justification of same. But it is rather bizarre to then keep details of that trip a secret from the very people that paid for it - the Australian taxpayers.
Could it have something to do with the fact that her "friend" is now assisting police with inquiries into another matter?
Many working Australians wouldn't mind finding a few facts themselves, the facts they are aware of being none too palatable.
Special Minister for State, Senator Erica Betz, green lighted the trip with a spokesperson claiming that the government doesn't go around and audit people's personal relationships.
This will be refreshing news to the millions of Australians on disability pensions, unemployment benefits, and the like - as well as members of the defence forces, all of whom have their personal relationships open to much auditing by the Federal Government. There is a range of punitive measures for those who don't comply with this state sanctioned sheet sniffing.
Draper's defence is just part of the stream of hypocrisy oozing out of the Federal Government, which obviously has one rule for the poor and another for its mates with their snouts in the trough.
This is without even getting into how Howard would have reacted if Draper's partner had been of the same gender.
Democrats Senator Brian Greig told the whistleblower website Crikey.com.au that the Federal Government certainly wasn't supportive of these types of arrangements.
"It's true that the Remuneration Tribunal recently changed the guidelines to recognise my same-sex partner for the purposes of travel entitlements, but it's my understanding (yet to be tested), that this ruling applies only to domestic travel, not international, and it does not seem to apply therefore to overseas 'study tours'."
Greig had complained to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, which found in favour of the same-sex partner, but the Federal Government still did nothing.
"It would seem, according to the Government, that a casual fling from a neighbouring suburb has greater rights than a long-term partner living under the same roof," said Greig.
Let's hope that Draper made the most of her European junket, as she's unlikely to be the Federal Member for anything after the next election.
Draper first adopted the moral high ground when she called for a ban on the 1997 film adaptation of the Nabokov novel Lolita.
One can only admire our Tool of the Week for her consistent position on free speech - she obviously knows what's best for all of us, and she's the one who's going to have it.
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