It’s always nice to know one has friends in high places. Speaking for the Australian government, our Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, has been reported by the multicultural, publicly funded SBS as dismissing claims that Alexander Downer helped to initiate Russia probe.
Hockey’s contribution to the story, like any diplomat who is obedient to his government, was the substance of his letter to the United States Senator Lindsay Graham assuring him Australia was cooperating with US Attorney General William Barr’s inquiry into the origins of the FBI probe into Russian links to the Trump election campaign.
More telling, however, on the SBS page is a heavily edited video of the Prime Minister declaring, surely with tongue firmly in cheek, that nothing “in the public domain there is any matter for Alexander Downer to address nor am I aware of anyone suggesting there is any inappropriate behaviour by him.”
Since evidence given by George Papadopoulos and statements by a number of Republican Congressmen, Senators Graham and McConnell, Reps Nunes, Gowdy and Jordan (does ScoMo need more?) are in the public domain, we have to conclude either that Morrison:
- Has not been properly briefed (highly unlikely); or
- Has been too busy to read the news papers (highly unlikely); or
- Is well aware that it is in the public domain and has chosen to ignore the statements by United States Congressmen, articles in The Spectator Australia’s Flat White page, reports in The Australian, and to tell fibs about it to the public, while relying on rhetorical devices to argue that he didn’t tell a lie.
We will hear that last excuse when the truth is finally out and he denied that any statements in the public domain suggested Downer’s behaviour was inappropriate.
Luckily, Morrison gave us advance knowledge of what he considers is inappropriate when he says in the SBS video interview that he wouldn’t share any information (with the USA) that was contrary to Australia’s national interest. In other words, information that is in Australia’s interests should be shared.
Thus, evidence that the Australian government authorised or did not authorise Downer to meet with Papadopoulos as an agent provocateur for the Hillary Clinton campaign would be very much in Australia’s interest, since it could never have been a bona fides part of his employment as Australia’s chief diplomat in the UK. Further, it is in Australia’s political interests that the current Republican President know why that action was taken and if Canberra did engage in a partisan interference in the US electoral system.
It is highly probable that the Spy v Spy engagement by Downer with Papadopolous was not authorised by the Australian government. After all, Downer’s close connection with the Democrats and the Clintons is well known given his $US25 million gift to the Bill Clinton foundation without bothering to obtain any audit control to ensure it was applied to its allotted purpose.
If it were authorised by the government, however, then the truth definitely has to come out. For it could never be in this country’s national interest for us to participate in such an ignorant and mistaken intervention in our major ally’s electoral process; particularly on behalf of such vulgar liars.
David Long is a retired solicitor, economist and PhD candidate at Griffith University School of Law.
Illustration: Joe Hockey/Instagram.
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