GG Jefferys attacked
In today’s Australian, Michael Costello, does his best to make the Governor-General look bad but only succeeds in bringing his own motives into question. The piece basically says General Jefferys is conservative and thus he must be taken to task. During his time as governor of Western Australia, as The Australian’s Matt Price pointed out, Jeffreys repeatedly voiced conservative views on single-parent families, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and de facto relationships. He also spoke of assimilation for Aborigines. Remarkably, he was often to the Right of the conservative Court government. Repeatedly…….remarkably…… like the majority of Australians. The case against General Jefferys so far is; He disagrees with left wing views. He regularly convened meetings of informal think-tanks, and after he left he became chairman of a think-tank called Future Directions International. As Governor-General-designate he felt no obligation to stay off the historically highly charged issue of the Vietnam War. When the chief of the Australian Defence Force, Peter Cosgrove, expressed the view that it would be better if Australia had not been involved, Jeffrey said: “I believe passionately that Vietnam was a just cause in the circumstances of the time.” For a start he is a decorated and respected Vietnam Veteran and is entitled to an opinion and to voice it. While General Jefferys has contributed to Australia in a meaningful way Costellos track record as the oft quoted ‘chief-of-staff to Beasley’ leaves him as a sideline commentator and a jaundiced one at that. The historically highly charged issue of Vietnam was so charged by the anti-west antics of left wing non-contributors and commentators. Sidelined opinions from sidelined people who never got beyond the Marx of their uni days. The case against General Jefreys is still; he disagrees with left wing views. Costello makes another obscure point. Here is one example. The executive council, chaired by the Governor-General, must approve all bills passed by the House of Representatives and Senate before they can become law. The ministers who make up a quorum on the council frequently know very little about the bills in question, which are there to be approved pro forma, not debated. This Governor-General, however, seeks briefing papers on bills beforehand, and initiates discussion on them in the executive council. From the Government web site The Federal Executive Council comprises all ministers, with the Governor-General presiding. Its principal functions are to receive ministerial advice and approve the signing of formal documents such proclamations, regulations, ordinances and statutory appointments. Costello says; The ministers who make up a quorum on the council frequently know very little about the bills in question….. That’s a big call but if Costello is right, if I were Governor-General, I would want the ministers to be briefed on exactly what they are about to pass into law and yet Costello paints this as meddling. The professional world would paint it as doing his job in a professional manner. I presume when Labour was in power the ministers knew everything there was to know about the bills in question. Perhaps the Governor-General, who while affable, is something of a stickler for protocol, could focus instead on a role that is quintessentially that of a governor-general as commander in chief. Now lets see, how can we make a man who has the unique ability to appeal to all and yet still maintain the protocol that is expected of the Governor-General sound bad…….Affable but a stickler for protocol fits the bill nicely. If we can just restrict him to the parade ground we won’t have to confront his conservatism. He then goes on to say (and here’s his chance to dump on Howard) that the Governor-General should welcome all the troops home, not Howard. He mentions that a citizen, Sebastion Clark, suggested this as if it had the same weight as a referendum. Hey, let the elected leader of Australia welcome them home if that’s what he wants. One moment we shouldn’t have regal appointees and the next moment elected leaders are castigated for leading. Prime Ministers have always welcomed troops home and Governor-Generals have always officiated at the more formal parades and award ceremonies. Costello’s article clarifies his lack of knowledge about matters of high office. I guess we can’t win. When that chap Deane went around the country dumping on the elected government woe betide any right wing commentator that pointed out that Deane may be forgetting the protocol of the office of Governor-General. Costello’s point is that General Jefferys is conservative and does his job professionally while abiding to the protocols of office. Sounds good to me.