Another Dream By Samuel 10-year-old anti-angels

Piers Akerman hits Stanhope’s nails on the head

October 18th, 2005 at 08:59pm

Apoligies for the very bad attempt at a pun in the title, but it seemed appropriate.

This afternoon my attention was drawn to the comments of Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman. Piers made some very interesting, and in my view correct, observations about the Leaky Stanhope Saga, which I have previously covered.

As I don’t know how long the link to the Daily Telegraph article will last for, I have mirrored Piers’ comments below. I have since emailed Piers with my views on the issue, and some little bits of information which Piers might be interested in when it comes to the rest of the Chief Turnip’s cabinet.

I also found it quite interesting that the John Laws web poll “Are the Howard Government’s proposed anti-terror laws too tough?” attracted the following result.
Yes 21%
No 79%

I’ll admit that the average John Laws listener is probably somewhat right-winged, but considering that the John Laws website is reported to have hundreds of thousands of visitors each day, it is probably a mostly fair representation of a cross section of the community, especially seeing as people are often referred to the polls by email with no knowledge of what discussions have taken place on the show.

Another fiddle by the Nero of Canberra

October 18, 2005
Piers Ackerman

SHOWING once again he is not the best man to have on your side in a firestorm, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, on whose watch Canberra burnt two summers ago, has abandoned all ethical and security considerations in an attempt to undermine the Federal Government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation.
Having agreed with all other state and territory leaders to respect the confidentiality of the draft anti-terrorism bill while it was under discussion, Mr Stanhope, displaying all the maturity of a wet-behind-the-ears student activist, promptly published the content on his Toy Town government’s website, and, in so doing made himself out to be some sort of hero with the immature Left.

Responsible government requires responsible leadership – even more so with the world locked in combat against the most lethal forms of terrorism.

But not from the knee-jerk populist Mr Stanhope. The lessons taught by New York, Bali, Jakarta, Madrid and London have escaped the notice of this former Beazley political staffer.

If security matters cannot be discussed in confidentiality, there is little chance of ever meeting the terrorist threat.

Mr Stanhope, has, of course, a dismal record when it comes to protecting the malcontented public servants in his fiefdom.

When bushfires threatened the ACT in January, 2003, his administration rejected the concerned inquiries made by the NSW fire authorities and the subsequent firestorm that swept through Canberra’s suburbs destroyed more than 500 houses, killed four people and left others with serious burns.

Scandalously, this self-proclaimed man-of-the-people then attempted to shut down the coronial inquiry just as it began to raise questions which went to the heart of his administration’s failed decision-making process.

When later challenged about the ACT Government’s failure to recognise the gravity of the bushfire threat, he said famously: “I’m not a firefighter; I don’t have that experience.”

No, indeed. Nor is there any evidence that he is an expert on terrorism but he did say after being briefed by the heads of the security apparatus on the new anti-terror laws: “Faced with blunt advice from the head of ASIO, from the head of the Office of National Assessments and from the head of the Australian Federal Police that we do indeed face grave circumstances in Australia, it really isn’t possible for any head of government to turn away and to take some other advice or to make some personal judgment on how serious the situation is. The situation is serious.”

The meeting with the security chiefs, he said, “provided, I believe, a strong justification for a range of new laws”.

That was last month. Three weeks later, the populist politician has changed his tune dramatically, telling a meeting of Muslim leaders in Canberra last Friday: “Today I invite Canberra’s Muslims to see for themselves the draft legislation the Prime Minister has presented to the states and territories for their consideration.

“I do not wish to deceive you. The laws to which I have agreed are unpalatable laws. They are laws I never anticipated I would be called upon to consider.

“I believe it is wrong and counterproductive for us to keep insisting that this behaviour has no causal links to our invasion of Iraq. I also believe that the anxiety and dislocation felt by Muslims can no longer be seen in isolation from the West’s behaviour in relation to Palestine.”

Where Mr Stanhope’s newfound knowledge of terrorism comes from is a mystery.

Perhaps he is being briefed by Michael Costello, who also worked on Mr Beazley’s staff and is now the $400,000-a-year head of the ACT’s water and electricity utility.

Fanatical Islamist terrorists began targeting infidels or poor observers of the tenets of Islam long before the Iraqi conflict and without any reference to Middle Eastern political structure.

Previously, Mr Stanhope restrained his half-baked political activism to providing support for a juvenile staffer who stealthily crept around Canberra shopping areas in the dead of night creating stultifyingly stupid graffiti. Now he has brought his naive approach to bear on more serious affairs.

The contrast between the stupefying response of this arch poseur to the current global crisis and that of the 10 million or so brave Iraqis who defied suicidal murderers to register their acceptance of Iraq’s new constitution last weekend is absolutely breathtaking.

Their enthusiasm in the face of dreadful threats matched that of the millions of Africans a decade ago who queued for hours to vote for freedom from apartheid in South Africa after years of oppression.

Like the South Africans, Iraqis believe they can stand up to those who want to steal the keys of liberty and democracy.

How, given his absurd utterances, would Mr Stanhope and his fellow doomsayers expect Australia to respond to the threat of international terrorism against those he represents? With the same facile response he mustered before the bushfires two years ago or with more steel?

His unprincipled abrogation of his agreement to participate in confidential talks on a series of unexceptional proposals to deal with terrorism certainly does not inspire confidence in his understanding of the gravity of the situation the world now faces.

Nor do his views on Iraq and the Middle East indicate anything beyond arrant populism.

He has committed a serious breach of trust and it would be perfectly understandable should colleagues in the state and federal governments exclude him from future confidential talks and briefings.

Courtesy of


Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,General News,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. Kerces  |  October 19th, 2005 at 11:40 am

    We want to see siad email with suggestions for Akerman!

  • 2. Samuel  |  October 19th, 2005 at 11:43 am

    I’ll wait and see if he replies first. If I don’t get a reply today then I’ll post part or all of the email.

  • 3. Samuel  |  October 19th, 2005 at 4:16 pm

    Alrighty then, well I won’t quote verbatim copies of the emails, mainly because of a confidentiality notice in the reply from Piers.

    Anyway, the email I sent to Piers contained a few simppets of news stories that Canberra people would be aware of, but Sydney people probably wouldn’t. Naturally my email contained my personal opinion of some of the matters surrounding the ACT Government. The main points I cited were Simon Corbell’s willingness to use his call-in powers on some rather dodgy looking developments, Katy Gallagher’s interesting version of consultation, and the many nicknames Jon Stanhope has accumulated.

    Piers seems fairly well educated on the mishaps of Stanhope, so I didn’t say much about that, except to say, in relation to the leak, that “The course of action Jon Stanhope decided to take was absolutely stupid, and ranks among his worst indiscretions yet, and I hope that he is removed from office by a higher power.”

    I’m probably hoping in vain for Stanhope’s removal, but people who know me know that I think he is a fruitcake anyway.

    Piers replied this afternoon, thanking me for my email and asked if I can keep him up to date on Stanhope’s actions as they don’t get to hear much about him up there in Sydney. (Lucky them I say.)

  • 4. stan_T  |  November 30th, 2005 at 8:08 pm

    Mate, no offence, but anyone who thinks Piers Akerman has hit anything on the head has had too many hits to the head!. What is wrong wtih you. Akerman is the most pathetic excuse for a journalist (if you can call him that) since PP Macguiness. He is clearly quite uneducated and is pathetic little man. Only an uneducated rednecked biggotted f**k wit would agree with this loathsome sack of crap!

  • 5. Samuel  |  November 30th, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    No offence taken, but I think you are wrong. I don’t agree with everything he says, but when I read some of his columns I generally think they are well written and well thought out. In the case of his column about Stanhope’s Leak, Akerman was right on the money in my view.

    I respect your opinion stan_T, I just don’t agree with it.

  • 6. stan_T  |  November 30th, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    Fair enough, sorry for my offensive ways, didn’t mean it. I must say I didn’t read that particular article.
    I can tell you now, I have been reading Akerman articles for wuite some time now, he is a massive hypocrite. There are a number of websites that commentate on the lowliness and downright innacuracy of Akerman’s articles (go to ‘workers online’ or Crikey and type in Piers Akerman) he is always having to apologise for writing defamatory and grossly innacurate articles. For example, he gets stuck into the ABC for not being ‘neutral’ or leaning too far to the left. Have you ever read an Akerman article berating the conservatives or saying anything positive about the ALP? Even Lawsie (who is right wing) will say some positives about the ALP. I bet Lawsie isn’t a supporter of the proposed industrial relations legislation. Akerman regularlay picks on heroin addicts. Do you know why Akerman hated Mark Latham so much? Latham revealed in Parliament, that a few years back (while working at the tele) he was a regular cocaine user. The only difference between a heroin addict and a coke addict is the fact that the coke user is probably very well off and the heroin user would probably be coming from the lower echelons of the socio-economic scale and as a result is far more vulnerable to petty crime and violence. Akerman is exactly what is wrong with this country, he represents the nastiest side of the Australian persona.In other words he is a selfish little biggotted conservative. He is Rupert Murdoch’s dancing bear.

  • 7. Samuel  |  November 30th, 2005 at 8:59 pm

    I think you’ve made your point and it sounds quite reasonable. I generally only see Akerman articles occasionally, and I think that to some extent he is just like Stan Zemanek, an entertainer with the occasional serious thing to say. I don’t often buy the Daily Telegraph (or any other newspaper for that matter) so I usually see Akerman when I’m browsing

    I think Laws is in two minds over the IR reforms, he certainly comes across that way.

  • 8. stan_T  |  November 30th, 2005 at 9:04 pm

    Fair enough. Where do you think Laws stands in terms of the IR debate?

  • 9. stan_T  |  November 30th, 2005 at 9:13 pm

    And unlike Zemankek, people actually take Akkerman serioulsy!
    Oh well, nothing wrong with abit of diversity?!

  • 10. Samuel  |  November 30th, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    He sounds like he has some issues with them, but doesn’t believe everything either side has said. Lately he doesn’t seem to have been talking about it as much, which is difficult for me as I only heard bits and pieces a few weeks back when he was talking about it a lot.

    Personally I think we probably need some reforms, but we aren’t really going to know how well they work until after they have been imposed. I also don’t think that John Howard is out to destroy the lives of Australians, and I just can’t see him doing this if he thought it would really hurt the nation and it’s people. That being said, Kim Beazley needs something more than “Let’s repeal the IR reforms” if he wants to be the Prime Minister. I personally think Beazley is a slow talking windbag with no real substance, and that Labor need someone credible if they want to take power, but I’m sure plenty of people (Beazley especially) would disagree with that.

  • 11. Samuel  |  November 30th, 2005 at 9:20 pm

    And unlike Zemankek, people actually take Akkerman serioulsy!

    Yes, agreed, although I’m sure there are some odd people who think Zemanek believes what he says. Incidentally, Zemanek started a home loan company the other day, I was going to email him and wish him good luck, he certainly sounded like he was trying to lower fees etc.


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