Attila the Pun
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The things that batter... stupid questions

In Parliament yesterday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, was asked the following question by a Labor backbencher:

"Would the minister inform the House of efforts by the government to ensure that the two Australians detained in Guantanamo Bay are being treated humanely by the United States?"

Downer goes on to do just that, including assurances received by our ambassador, a visit by the Consul-General 10 days ago, a total of 9 visits to Hicks and 8 to Habib etc. But he then whips out a pearler of a response:

"I appreciate that—if not in the parliament—in the media the opposition, as well as Senator Brown, are now concerning themselves with the welfare of these
two Australians, who are detained because of their involvement with al-Qaeda. But I must say that it is curious that they show a greater interest in these two than
the other 214 Australians who are in prison for one reason or another overseas. They are in prison from El Salvador to Kazakhstan to Nigeria—apparently they are of no interest to the Australian Labor Party at all. The only ones who are of interest are Hicks and Habib."

and why is this?

"they seem to be unconcerned about the 214 other Australians detained for any manner of reasons but, as you would expect from a party which has become deeply anti-American, they are concerned about two Australians who are detained by the Americans. I do not think the Labor Party has any interest in the other 214 Australians imprisoned."

Couldn't agree more Alex. You also get the impression that Downer was waiting for a Labor member to be dumb enough to ask a question along those lines, trying to score cheap points

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