Victorian Liberal upper house leader and former chiropractor David Davis was critical yesterday of the Premier pushing for a swift conclusion to an eighteen month long investigation into a senior Victorian cabinet minister.
On issues of a delicate personal kind, normally it is considered prudent for the other side to be quiet. Barely a word could be heard from the government at all when Davis’s colleague and faction-buddy Richard Dalla Riva resigned for allegedly hitting on a girl no more than eighteen in his taxpayer funded vehicle and subsquently texting her with various indecent proposals. Dalla-Riva insisted it was all a misunderstanding. His talent certainly exceeds his sin so it seemed fair enough to forgive. After a short stretch in the sin-bin, where he reportedly resolved that his little head would no longer rule his big head, he was back on the front-bench.
THE BRAVE LADIES MAN
Davis is also considered an enthusiast for the ladies. If that’s your thing and there’s no deception involved, then it’s probably none of our business. Hopefully no former chiropractor clients were involved because some might see that as a little exploitative or something like that.
But Davis leading with his chin on these matters does invite some own-goal scoring possibilities. A bit like the Brit Shadow Chancellor who dobbed in to the papers Dark Lord Peter Mandelson for being chummy with a dodgy Russian billionaire while then being exposed by a highly credible witness (Nat Rothschild no less, who had hosted all of them on his island or his yacht or whatever and was very dark about confidences at his private gatherings being leaked to the Fourth Estate) for hitting up that very same billionaire for an illegal fifty thousand pound donation and even chatting about how to circumvent the laws that ban foreigners giving campaign contributions.
The former chiropractor should be very careful. As indeed should all citizens about a ten year old claim of rape brought forward against a senior Cabinet minister by a woman whose proudest boast seems to be that she’s a psychiatric patient.
It is the duty of Oppositions to oppose. But the smart ones are very careful about how they do so.
VICPOL BELATEDLY THOROUGH
It is very clear the Victoria Police are being very thorough. They’ve had eighteen months to conduct a highly thorough investigation. By Rick Wallace’s account, they have even sought to find security tapes and DNA evidence some ten years after an alleged offence and eighteen months after they started investigating. They should now pass their evidence onto the Office of Public Prosecutions for a decision one way or the other so that the state’s business can continue with minimum interruption from a process that everyone from Julian Burnside to Andrew Bolt can see has been outrageously unfair.
Equally unfair or plan stupid perhaps is the beat-up of the fact that Premier Brumby hasn’t spoken with Theo Theophanous since his decision to stand aside pending the Police inquiry.
A much bigger story would have been that they had spoken, that the stood aside Minister was somehow still acting as the Minister when he’d pledged to stand aside from the position, that it was business as usual. It’s clearly not business as usual, there are acting ministers in place and even an enthusiastic potential vacancy puller Evan Thornley positioning himself in The Age by telling their newsroom what it wants to hear about allowing six month pregnant mums to be procure an abortion.
THORNLEY AND AUSTIN – IS EVAN THE HAYDEN TO AUSTIN’S RAMSEY?
Thornley’s assertion that it takes no courage to be pro-life is beneath even him. We’d say it takes courage to advance a view on these contentious matters, regardless of what it is. Certainly it takes no courage for a member of the Labor caucus to be in favour of abortion for even the heavily pregnant. That abortion be safe, legal and rare seems to be the majority consensus in Australia, to oppose that opens one up to accusations of all kinds from vehement lobby groups who might not be so nutty as to send fetal pics about but are just as militant and just as mindless.
The Age’s Paul Austin seems to salivate with joy about and then extensively quote – in the style of Sydney Morning Curmudgeon Alan Ramsey – Evan Thornley’s cheap and poorly thought out pro-choice shots about how if you’re really against abortion you should be promoting contraception “on the streets and in the landing fields” or some similar rhetorical and highly unoriginal device.
Of course, not many Catholics – acting consistently with their faith – will be doing that. Last time we looked, contraception was still not allowed.
There obviously wasn’t a lot of Catholic theology consumed at Thornley’s alma mater Scotch College. To be fair to Thornley, and we don’t like to be, his ignorant remarks were probably made late at night, after a few clarets, in an emotionally gruelling debate. Presumably though Paul Austin’s multi-par rehash wasn’t done while drunk. Either way, their ignorant opining on the issue shows all the religious and cultural sensitivity of staunch anti-Catholic Reverend Ian Paisley.
As the former chiropractor David Davis, former billionaire Evan Thornley and persistent blow-hard Paul Austin amply demonstrate, the gap between courage and ignorance can sometimes be wafer thin.
The less you think, the easier it is to be brave. But it certainly makes it all the harder to be taken seriously. It wouldn’t be right to leave Thornley’s reflection on the courage of those who opposed the recent abortion bill to go unchallenged.
He would do well to recall the words of the character Atticus Finch, in perhaps the greatest American novel To Kill A Mockingbird :
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.
When you read those words, does the over-bearing unprincipled red-face of ambition Evan Thornley come to mind? Didn’t think so. We might not agree with everything Bernie Finn or Peter Kavanagh says, but we admire and salute their courage in the face of crushing and rather intolerant majority.