Contributed by Ben Wilson
[updated on 29 November 2018]
Responding to pressure over a number of fronts, the Coalition government is threatening to hit with greater force. A new and special target is Kerryn Phelps. She recently took one of the most blue-ribbon seats at the Wentworth by-election.
Dr Phelps has been prominent in opposing the mistreatment of asylum seekers. She has just delivered a petition of refugee advocates and politicians, which calls on the immediate evacuation of kids from Nauru. The government is furious about this.
Now, she has taken a high profile role in xin the issue relating to referring Peter Dutton to the High Court.
All of this has singled her out as a special target for attack.
But imagine having Peter Dutton going to the High Court. He could be given a platform to be an even louder voice against human rights in Australia and greater capacity to push his narrow and discriminatory views on Australia. Her should face as proper investigation of the allegation against him.
He is a sitting member of parliament, suspected of profiting from government grants associated with nursing homes he owns. If true, this is corrupt and a clear conflict of interest. Even a suspicion should be enough to bar him.
The government is trying to sweep it all under the carpet, in its hate to hurry his appointment through. It is a disgrace that Australia has sunk to this level.
At any other time, Peter Dutton would have been regarded as unfit for the post. But in comes minister Chris Pyne, to save the day on behalf of the Morrison government.
He has threatened Kerryn Phelps in parliament and on ABC radio, saying that he would take steps to stop this being a decision made by the parliament and refer Dutton straight to the High Court. This is a clear case of blackmail. Dr Phelps has responded by saying that she will not be intimidated.
The threat is also implied for other opponents of the government.
It smacks of growing desperation in the lead up to next year’s election, and the ambition of preparing the ground to pull of some kind of stunt.
This is not just about the election. There is a push for the creation of a national anti-corruption authority, and there is fear within the government’s ranks that this will uncover and expose goings on that it would rather keep away from the public’s eyes.
Losing its parliamentary majority with election of Kerryn Phelps, means that the Coalition might be forced to at least go through the motions of acceptance, and needs a diversion badly.
This is not the last we’re going to see of this matter. These people are getting ever more desperate.