Parliament

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

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>

ALSO:

NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog