HANEEF TO FLY OUT; HOWARD TO FLY BACK July 28, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
Does the story now die? According to ABC News Online, Dr Haneef is flying home to Bangalore to be with his wife and new baby. John Howard was conveniently out of the country while the story imploded, and so now can return in full dignity and every prospect of winning the next election in a landslide. Well if he does not the result will be inexplicable. Howard is not the greatest genius that ever breathed – let us not exaggerate here – but he is the cleverest politician that has risen to lead this nation, or so we are to believe.
Now Dr Haneef is leaving, the Immigration Minister is hopes (a qualified state of mind) to release the information that lead him to decide to cancel Dr Haneef’s visa, while the government is intending to contest the action in the Federal Court to restore the visa. His solicitor, Peter Russo said:
“. . . immigration authorities helping Dr Haneef return to India have banned him from speaking to the media before he leaves.”
The report also mentions that some reporters are accompanying Dr Haneef on the plane to Banglalore.
So everyone is happy. The government has clean hands. John Howard has his dignity and gravitas. The Feds are competent, especially in the anti-terrorism dimension, but everybody makes mistakes. The Minister is not accountable, but “hopes” to release the briefing that informed his decision. The person, presumably wrongly imprisoned for four weeks has been gagged. There will be no inquiry of any kind. We can forget about the leaks. We live in the best of all possible worlds.
But I have one question: Is there anything this government will not do to be re-elected? And now I have another: With a genius like John Howard, why do they need to try so hard?
Lawyers for Dr Haneef had said they wanted his name cleared completely, and demanded the restoration of his work visa. This was withdrawn on the grounds that Dr Haneef was of unsuitable character. “We’re stunned,” Dr Haneef’s lawyer Stephen Keim told Reuters news agency. “We can’t understand how a man, who has been locked up in prison for nearly a month on groundless reasons, could continue to have his good name be smeared with this decision. “With the visa cancelled, it could have serious downstream effects on his work and travel. It is of paramount interest for Haneef to have an unblemished record.”
All I can do is quote again what David Tiley observed:
We really do have a disgusting government, you know.
The Immigration Minister is a dedicated Christian, and on that basis let us suppose the possibility, however remote or politically inexpedient, of an appropriate act of redemption.
Postscript:30 July 2007.
The transcript of the interview with Dr Haneef for Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes is available.