Friday 30 November 2007

A fatally poisoned chalice?

CairnsBlog contributing writer Sid Walker, tunes into AM this morning...

This morning on ABC AM, listeners heard the remarkable tale that Malcolm Turnbull had, indeed, been on track to win the Federal Liberal leadership at yesterday’s ballot. That explains reports, immediately before the Parliamentary Party met, that he was the likely victor.

However - or so the story goes – this is what cost him the leadership...

  • Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd has promised to apologize to the Stolen Generations early in his first term of government.

    Former Prime Minister John Howard was adamant that he would never deliver a formal apology and Mr Turnbull says that was a mistake.

    "Clearly we should have said sorry then," he said.
    "Unquestionably that was an error I'd say, about a friend, John Howard.

    "I think John got himself into a bit of a semantic tangle there. And you know, getting into semantics about regret versus sorry, that's a waste of time.

    "But having said that it's one thing to say sorry, you should do that, but the critical thing is getting the substance right."

The story goes that Nick Minchin and other hard-hats in the caucus were so enraged by these comments that they renewed efforts to defeat Turnbull’s candidacy. They succeeded – by a whisker.

Yesterday evening, new leader Brendon Nelson was asked by Kerry O’Brien on ABC's Lateline about the ‘sorry’ issue. Nelson was evasive.

If the Liberal leadership truly was gained through such a mean-spirited difference, the new leader has been sucked into power by a moral vacuum.

Do the Libs intend to disagree with the new Government’s national apology, when it comes? Will they go to the next election demanding a retraction?

"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first send mad", as Euripides had it.

Incidentally, Noel Pearson has been oddly quiet about this. He was set to go and ready to attack Kevin Rudd within just a few hours, less than two days before the Federal election. What’s worse than a heartless snake, I wonder?

Perhaps he’s still consulting a good thesaurus?

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