Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, June 15, 2004
AUSTRALIA IN TURMOIL, a view from the United Arab Emirates, as told by their Australian correspondent.
CANBERRA – Citizens of Australia have been stunned by an unprecedented intervention in their affairs by US President George W Bush. The tirade from Washington is aimed at the Mark Latham, the leader of the main opposition political grouping, the Australian Labour Party.

The reason for the criticism is that Latham has dared to contradict the so-called “coalition of the willing”.

It’s a vow that has captured the imagination of large sections of the Australian population, which is sickened by the images of war and abuse of prisoners.

Polls show most Australians no longer support the war. It is believed Prime Minister John Howard was planning to pull the troops out when he called the election, so he could stage a triumphal welcome home close to the election, to fan patriotic support for his government. Now Latham’s promise means Howard can’t get away with such a blatant political act with the troops. Instead, he is now locked into a vague promise that the troops have to stay “until the job is done”.

Who is this goose, the Australian correspondent for the Khaleej Times?

Why, it's Ross Peake, political reporter for the Canberra Times.
His job used to be done by Margo Kingston.

There must be something in that mountain water.