Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks on the Malaysian Diplomat saga

Dunne Speaks on the Malaysian Diplomat saga


3 July 2014

Charles de Gaulle once commented that politics were far too important to be left to the politicians. It appears our diplomats have adopted the same view about diplomacy, if the case of the disgraced Malaysian diplomat is any guideline.

By and large, we are well served by our public servants, and Ministers are usually extremely loyally supported, whatever their foibles. But when things go wrong, they often do so in a mighty way. I well recall seeing a former Prime Minister incandescent with rage after a comparatively junior official told him of plans to release adverse economic figures just a few days before an election. When the Prime Minister reminded him of this, this official arrogantly and utterly naively replied, “That is not my problem, Prime Minister.”

The same breathtaking dose of unreality seems to be behind MFAT’s Malaysian diplomat SNAFU. Whoever thought the “our chaps will talk quietly to your chaps” approach that appears to have been adopted was smart and sustainable, let along morally defensible, deserves their head read. Yet these are the same people who shudder visibly at the idea of politicians taking too hands-on a role in foreign policy formation because of its apparent subtlety and sensitivity, which leaves it far too important to be left to people who in Sir Robin Day’s infamous words are “mere here today, gone tomorrow politicians.”

Well, the case of the Malaysian diplomat has knocked any pretence of credibility that argument may have had, not just for six, but right out of the park and down the street. Diplomats of all people should not be letting down their political masters this way, let alone being so amoral when it comes to the instance of prosecuting a serious case like attempted rape.

Should we be altogether surprised? I venture to suggest not, sadly. The culture of many of our diplomats stems from the British Foreign Office. And it is not that many years ago that Burgess, Maclean, Philby, Blunt and possibly even Hollis were protected by the “club” because ‘decent chaps” could not be Soviet spies. Or that our own Paddy Costello was similarly protected.

It has been a week of bizarre events. First up, Labour said it would ensure new migrants did not live in Auckland. Short of ankle bracelets and leg irons, how on earth was it ever going to enforce such a crazy policy? Then came the Moa reincarnation scheme – prize winner for the most crackpot political idea of the year.

But while these two ideas smack of political lunacy and can be quickly dismissed as such, the Malaysian diplomat saga is more sinister: officials deliberately withholding information from Ministers and advising another country how to get around the law by claiming immunity to prevent a trial on one of the most serious criminal charges. Such behaviour, with so little regard for the victim, is simply unconscionable. Just as the diplomat is being extradited to face trial, so too should those responsible for this appalling state of affairs be held to full and proper account.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Digital Evolution: Scoop Independent News Launches "Operation Chrysalis"

From today Scoop is beginning a process of public consultation with the political, business and civil society groups it has served for the past 15 and a half years.

"It is hoped that in time - with new leadership and increased community engagement - the chrysalis will incubate a new kind of Scoop, one which can sustainably continue Scoop's Mission 'to be an agent of positive change'", says Scoop Founder, Editor and Publisher Alastair Thompson.

"As big publishing shrivels, public participation in contributing and spreading news has grown. Scoop has evolved with this wave by providing an independent platform, committed to upholding democracy, providing a voice to all, and providing the public easy access to information about decisions which affect them." More>>

 

Parliament Adjourns:

Greens: CAA Airport Door Report Conflicts With Brownlee’s Claims

The heavily redacted report into the incident shows conflicting versions of events as told by Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch airport security staff. The report disputes Brownlee’s claim that he was allowed through, and states that he instead pushed his way through. More>>

ALSO:

TAIC: Final Report On Grounding Of MV Rena

Factors that directly contributed to the grounding included the crew:
- not following standard good practice for planning and executing the voyage
- not following standard good practice for navigation watchkeeping
- not following standard good practice when taking over control of the ship. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Pakistan Schoolchildren Killings

The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between sections of the Pakistan military/security establishment on one hand and sections of the Taliban of the other… More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire:
The Politician’s Song

am a perfect picture of the modern politic-i-an:
I don’t precisely have a plan so much as an ambition;
‘Say what will sound most pleasant to the public’ is my main dictum:
And when in doubt attack someone who already is a victim More>>

ALSO:

Flight: Review Into Phillip Smith’s Escape Submitted To Government

The review follows an earlier operational review by the Department of Corrections and interim measures put in place by the Department shortly after prisoner Smith’s escape, and will inform the Government Inquiry currently underway. More>>

ALSO:

Intelligence: Inspector-General Accepts Apology For Leak Of Report

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication. The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further. More>>

ALSO:

Drink: Alcohol Advertising Report Released

The report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship has been released today, with Ministers noting that further work will be required on the feasibility and impact of the proposals. More>>

ALSO:

Other Report:

Leaked Cabinet Papers: Treasury Calls For Health Cuts

Leaked Cabinet papers that show that Government has been advised to cut the health budget by around $200 million is ringing alarm bells throughout the nursing and midwifery community. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news