The Latham Diaries (which I don't intend to buy and read) really reflect on the sideshow of Australian politics - the Australian Labor Party - and only relevant to the general running of Australia to the extent that they explain why Labor is such a poor Opposition to the strength of Howard's Government.
The are sadly a great distraction from the main game - how Australia is governed today. It is shocking how inept the Howard government is outside the realm of economic policy. This is most illustrated by the Immigration Department which despite incarcerating and deporting Australian citizens (talk about failure to function!) seems to be above any agenda for change or indeed for anyone from Minister Vanstone down to take responsibility.
Michael Pascoe writing for Crikey.com.au nails it well.
8. DIMIA and dimmer
Michael Pascoe, associate editor of Eureka Report, writes:
Another absolutely damning report on the Immigration Department, a few more headlines, no-one is responsible, the Government neatly sidesteps the much bigger outrage and nothing really happens. Same old, same old.
Just like the Rau case before it, the Vivian Solon investigation indicates we have a terminally corrupt political culture – much worse than anything Mark Latham's Diaries accuse anyone of. And just like the Rau case before it, the investigation has been deftly kept within limited bounds to make sure its ramifications will be strictly limited.
Already Amanda Vanstone, Co-Minister for No Responsibilities, has managed to hose the whole thing down to three unnamed bureaucrats, one of them already retired. Despite the department's overall culture being fingered, no-one is responsible for it.
Indeed, those who are supposed to have been responsible for it, who are and have been well paid to be responsible for it, have been given honours and promotions. As the maxim of finance journalism goes, follow the money – and if you do that you reach the conclusion that the Government has been very happy with the way DIMIA operates.
But the big crime is the one Vanstone, Co-Minister Ruddock and Prime Minister for No Responsibilities John Howard are all getting away with: how DIMIA deals with non-Australian citizens.
It is a very fair assumption that many, many more people cop the treatment dealt to Rau and Solon – but the Government will not be letting a commission of inquiry look into that. These other people are not Australian citizens and therefore apparently don't matter to Vanstone/Ruddock/Howard.
Yes, the system works just fine.