Hoping to be given permission to release a much vaunted “secret dossier” so as to convince a cynical public that he had compelling reasons for canceling Mohamed Haneef’s visa on character grounds, the Minister has been sounding desperate and pathetic.
Minister Andrews’ portfolio has the latitude to apply a much wobblier degree of evidence and proof than, for example, police or juries, which is nice, because the Minister has set his personal bar somewhere around 300 foot below sea level - that way he doesn't have to even cock a leg to get it over.
The Department of Immigration doesn’t need much, and certainly nothing much that might be deemed “secret”.
Let’s remind ourselves for a second that no law enforcement agency in
The flimsy charges against him were finally dropped a few days ago, but the canceled visa remains canceled, and Haneef is now home in
So, why I am cringing about the Minister Andrews? It's not merely because he's a dufus.
"The cancellation of the visa was on character grounds and what the legislation provides is that there is a reasonable suspicion; that is, you know that there is a doubt, this man has had associations with people engaged in criminal conduct," he told ABC radio today."
Yes, you can’t pick your cousins!!
Let that be a lesson to us all.
Actually it might be best to disavow all of your relatives, right now, so that you never have to carry the ignominy of having “associated” with them, which may, at an unpredictable moment, sully your reputation and limit your life and employment chances globally.
(Don't know about you, but if I'm not my brother's keeper, I'm sure as heck not my cousin's, or my second cousin's, or my next door neighbor's keeper.)
While the doctor’s legal team will try to have the visa ruling over-turned, the Minister was eager to be rid of Dr Haneef, who, unsurprisingly left Australia at the earliest opportunity, to return to his family and to meet his new born child, who is now about 6 weeks old - that’s the baby he was going to visit when arrested at the airport on suspicion of being a terrorist, because he gave a SIM card to his cousin in Britain.
These were Minister Andrews' dismissive and derisory comments after Dr Haneef was released from jail:
"After taking advice, including from the Australian Federal Police, I have indicated that the Commonwealth has no objection to Dr Haneef leaving
," Mr Andrews said. Australia
"Indeed the effect of the visa cancellation is that he should remove himself, he should depart
in any event.” Australia
Yeah, nick off, get the heck out of here, don’t appeal the visa ruling, make it easy on everyone, just go far, far, far away!
Yesterday, following Dr Haneef’s departure, the Minister became even smarmier:
"Mr Andrews - who cancelled Dr Haneef's visa soon after he was bailed - said the doctor's swift departure after his release from detention only made him look more suspicious.
"If anything, that actually heightens rather than lessens my suspicion,"
No word yet on whether the good Minister will be adding his invigorated and heightened suspicion to the secret dossier.
Nor do we have a clause reference for the relevant evidentiary framework in the legislation from which the Minister is hanging his suspicion. Perhaps the Minister is waiting for permission to release that secret clause along with the secret dossier.
Don’t know about you, but I’m glad this guy is only in charge of immigration, not ASIO or the Federal Police, or indeed any arms of law enforcement or the judiciary.
Left with his pants dangling around his ankles, 51 year old Minister is acting much like an average five year old, with an equally rudimentary understanding of his portfolio, legislation and appropriate Ministerial decorum.
(I imagine Minister Andrews' next press release will commence with something like: "nayyna, nayyna, nayyna, nayyna ...". )
Update: Just a little mis-start
"Australia will not be apologising to Dr Haneef," Mr Howard told reporters in Sydney.
No, of course not, we never apologise for damned anything.
"Dr Haneef was not victimised and Australia's international reputation has not been harmed by this 'mis-start' to its new anti-terrorism laws."
Yep, just a little mis-start. It's still good.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister in waiting, Thumbelina-Rudd, has announced a $500 M plan to help on the supply-side of the housing market. Bizarrely, local governments would via to get their grubby little hands on the money, through which they would, by some market miracle, pass on some infrastructure savings to buyers of new houses.
Sounds to me like getting State governments to cut stamp duties and sundry other inflated costs would be infinitely more efficient (also requiring zero additional public servants to administer) and would be a direct benefit to home buyers, as well as being more equitable. Oh, oops, that's right - State governments agreed to do that years ago, as part of the GST deal.
Passing on savings to the mug-punters? Somehow, when pass the parcel starts amongst government levels the music never stops and no-one gets to unwrap the parcel.