Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Week of Bombshells

It's rare that the usual hyperbole employed by the media should actually meet the scale of whatever they're describing, but the past few days have yielded quite a few examples where that has been the case.

Like everyone, I was stunned to hear the allegations pending against former Aboriginal Affairs Minister Milton Orkopoulos. Such allegations are all the more shocking when they are made against a person whose job is to represent the community. When I first heard that Morris Iemma was to hold a press conference I - and I'm sure many others - assumed it may be to depose Kerry Hickey, the Minister for Local Government, who has been involved in some controversies of his own recently. Instead, Iemma dropped - yes - a bombshell.

Some have expressed legitimate concerns that Orkopoulos was sacked both from the Ministry and the Labor party on the basis of allegations, not proven facts. Herein lies a very tricky situation. Refusing to sack Orkopoulos - especially if the allegations were later proven true - would have been political suicide, leaving the more morally dubious choice of a sacking as, I imagine, the only realistic option. On the other hand, I should think Orkopoulos would have stepped aside voluntarily while such serious charges were being heard. In any case, it will be difficult to assess the wider impact of the situation, and further discussion should probably be left until a time when the true facts can be ascertained.

Now to a considerably brighter note. Last night I attended an event held by Democrats Abroad and watched, along with a very excited group of expatriate Americans, as George Bush's political dominance was conclusively crushed. Having lived in America at the time when support for Bush was at an all time high; when to say a word against him was to literally be accused of treason, this is a stunning turnaround. Yes, media hyperbole again; but again, I think it's justified. What with the long-overdue resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and his replacement by former CIA director Bob Gates - a known opponent of any military action against Iran - it feels like the world is emerging from a long, painful headache. Bush will not be looking forward to the remainder of his term, presiding over both a House and Senate hostile to his agenda.

Does the US bombshell have the power to topple a President or his party? Absolutely, so long as the Democrats pick a good candidate. And the NSW one? As I said, it's impossible to tell at this point, but the government would certainly be hoping for a quiet Christmas.

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