mr. zilla goes to town

Thursday, December 16, 2004

compare and contrast, part I

I've been following the story back home of the rogue-back-in-the-fold nutter MP from deep north Queensland, De-Anne Kelly.

Last week, Mrs Kelly confirmed that she approved a $1.2 million grant to a Queensland milk company that one of her staff members, Ken Crooke, had previously acted as a consultant to. This week, Mrs Kelly blamed a clerical oversight for letters announcing new regional projects funding being mailed out last week, five weeks after she switched portfolios.

...On Thursday, she admitted breaching Mr Howard's code of ministerial responsibility.

...Mr Howard defended his decision not to sack her for the breach. "I am satisfied there was no intent by her as veterans affairs minister to exercise the authority she previously had as parliamentary secretary."

Meanwhile, in these parts, the storm around Home Secretary David Blunkett has come to a different conclusion:

David Blunkett resigned last night over allegations that he helped the nanny of his former lover Kimberly Quinn obtain a visa, and said he had "sacrificed" his political career for the love of their two-year-old son.

The Home Secretary judged that he would have to quit on Tuesday when Sir Alan Budd, who is conducting the inquiry, told him he had uncovered an exchange of faxes and e-mails between Mr Blunkett's office and the Immigration and Nationality Department after Ms Casalme was told her application could take a year to process. It was later approved in only 19 days. Mr Blunkett insisted that he had no personal recollection of dealing with the matter and predicted he would be cleared by Sir Alan.

But he said he would not "hide behind" civil servants and accepted full responsibility himself for any "perception" that the application had been speeded up. He admitted a memo was sent back to the Home Office that said "no favours, but slightly quicker".

What a contrast. On the one hand, with an election here only months away, one of Tony Blair's strongest ministers and allies in Cabinet falls on his sword for his office's speeding of a single visa application claim. Back home, the Rodent falls back on the spurious defence of his certain knowledge of De-Anne Kelly's intent in a matter reeking of spoiled, corrupted pork. The line between murder and manslaughter is one of intent too, but you won't see people walking scot free from the latter. What a shameless bunch the Howard mob makes us colonials appear.


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