Modia Minotaur

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Howard to Testify at the Cole Commission

ABC Radio have just reported that John Howard has agreed to provide a statement to the Cole Commission, which could mean that he, like his ministers Mark Vaile and Alexander Downer, and is eventually likely to give evidence.

This is the first time government ministers - and now a Prime Minister - have appeared before a Royal Commission in 23 years, and we should see some fascinating performances. The theatre of court is very different to the theatre of parliament. Parliamentary performance is a game of rhetoric, bluster, to-and-fro and wilful bfuscation. Alexander Downer learned not long ago that the rules of parliamentary debating cannot be applied to every situation, in his speech to the Earle Page Dinner in 2005, when he used these rules for an unfair and historically inaccurate demolition of wartime Labor leader John Curtin. Parliament is used to bend the details (occasionally to breaking point) to argue your party's point.

Court is not, and this is what will be fascinating. There will be no scope for beating around the bush, pompous point-scoring and rhetorical flourishes. And the raw, unvarnished details will not be flattering.

Meanwhile, Downer, Vaile and Howard might like to kick back (no pun intended) and watch tonight's episode of Four Corners.

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