14 February 2013

Reading Mr Rabbit's words with the eyes of a lawyer

| johnboy
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Political circles are getting very excited by the Canberra Times reporting on Tony Abbott’s remarks last night on the pre-selection race.

Bearing in mind that the Times is basically the Mouth Of Gazza at this point in the race Abbott’s remarks are not as clear cut as they at first appear:

Mr Abbott praised Senator Humphries’ political skills for becoming ACT Chief Minister before he entered the Senate.

”I want to see those gifts continue to be available to us in the Senate and more widely, so I really want to support Gary’s continuation in the Senate as strongly as I possibly can.

”Gary Humphries has done a marvellous job in politics and should have many more years in politics ahead of him. I think people who have worked like that deserve the support and loyalty of their fellow MPs and their fellow party members,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the Liberal Party believed in competition and its MPs should expect to face challenges for their positions.

”But it’s got to be a fair and clean preselection, there should be no dirty tricks, there should be no ambushes, we leave the dirty tricks and the ambushes to the Labor Party,” he said.

”I hope that every ACT Liberal who wants to participate in this preselection will be given every opportunity to do so.”

Now the weasel words are clearly there:

    — “as strongly as I possibly can” Can easily mean: “not at all”.

    — “will be given every opportunity to do so” Can easily mean: “none at all”.

The Zeddites of course are working from the basis that all process has been duly followed and we imagine it probably has.

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This whole farce reminds me of student union politics

wildturkeycanoe11:36 am 14 Feb 13

Who is Gary and what are Zeddites?
From someone who has lost all faith in Democracy.

HiddenDragon10:59 am 14 Feb 13

In the end, only one person truly knows if Abbott’s words were weasely in their intent, but I think it stretches Byzantine speculation beyond belief to suggest that Abbott, Bishop and Brandis would have attended a function such as this (particularly during a sitting week, when excuses could fairly easily be made), and spoke as they reportedly did, if they really did not prefer Humphries to Sesselja. This certainly looks like an escalation of federal support, and reinforces my view that the explanation reported last week by Crikey, for the form of Abbott’s initial support, was essentially a glib non sequitur, put out for the benefit of people who don’t think too deeply.

More than anything else, the presence of Heather Menzies at last night’s function symbolises what is going on here.

It will be interesting, if and when, to see how Senator Sesselja is treated by his new colleagues.

”But it’s got to be a fair and clean preselection, there should be no dirty tricks, there should be no ambushes, we leave the dirty tricks and the ambushes to the Labor Party,” he said.

Except when it’s not. I wish both parties would stop trying to claim the moral high-ground when neither one is qualified to hold it. They should admit that they’re all two-faced power-grabbers and leave it at that.

I think its pretty clear from the evidence in the media that the correct process hasnt been followed and would think that the Zeddites should be quite worried.

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance last night. The words from Tony, Julie Bishop and George Brandis were nothing but praise for Gary’s performance and an insistence that it be a fair fight. Very positive and I didn’t detect a whiff of weasel-ness.

The Canberra Times is doing its best to stir the pot. This unfortunate matter will be resolved shortly and the Liberals can get on with the challenge of winning seats here in Canberra. We’re a strong, united Party and this is a mere bump in the road.

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