Who’s the prostitute?

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the Australian diplomatic service would be “prostituted” if Senator Hill was posted to the UN when he left John Howard’s ministry. Yeah….right. So the ALP never appointed any of their own people to ambassadorial or consulate positions when they were in power? What about the following;
28.6.75 Barnard LH (ALP) Resigned. Appointed Ambassador to Norway, Finland and Sweden 18.2.84 Johnson LR (ALP) Resigned. Appointed High Commissioner to NZ. 8.2.86 Jenkins HA (ALP) Resigned. Appointed Ambassador to Spain. 6.2.88 Hurford CJ (ALP) Resigned. Appointed Consul-General in New York. 9.3.94 Blewett N (ALP) Resigned. Appointed High Commissioner to the UK .
The problem is most people won’t bother to look these facts up and will just accept at face value what Rudd says. I can here the true believers, never ones to check their own history, waffling on now. It’s true. Oh, my God. The Libs are prostituting government! Both parties use this system of political appoinments from time to time so I can’t see what Rudd’s point is, other than trying to score a cheap point. Rudd trying to score a cheap point….never!


  • Whitlam retired from Parliament in 1978. He was appointed by the Hawke government as Ambassador to UNESCO in the early 1980s.

  • Whitlam appointed Vince Gair (DLP) as Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See in 1974 in an attempt to get control of the Senate, thus prostituting both the political process and the diplomatic service. Joh Bjelke-Petersen acted to frustrate Whitlam’s plans. This set in motion the constitutional crisis of 1975.

  • Joh Bjelke-Petersen acted to frustrate Whitlam’s plans. This set in motion the constitutional crisis of 1975

    Be under no illusions that Joh was corrupt and led a corrupt government….. “Dont you worry about that”….

    Any mention of him completely falsifies anything you may wish to say….

  • Barry Bones, you certainly are a woolly little thinker, aren’t you. I have said three things about the appointment of Vince Gair as Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See in 1974. The first is that it prostituted the political process. It did so by trying to connive an outcome in the then forthcoming Senate elections which would not have occurred without that appointment. Second, that in appointing Gair as Ambassador Whitlam prostituted the diplomatic service. Whitlam was under no illusions as to Gair’s unfitness for a diplomatic role.He mockingly replied to a reporter’s question about what attributes Gair had that would fit him for the job “His willingness to serve his country”.
    This all occurred before Bjelke-Petersen acted to frustrate Whitlam’s plan, so nothing that Bjelke-Petersen subsequently did falsifies what I have said about Gair’s appointment.
    My third statement that Bjelke-Petersen’s actions to frustrate Whitlam set in motion the 1975 constitutional crisis is simply a matter of historical record and, as such, is independent of Bjelke-Petersen’s motives or his corruption.
    Are you a TAFE teacher, perchance?

  • Dear Kev,

    Just becasue the ALP does not make it right. It stinks no matter who does it.

    It is a rotten practice and one could hope that someone with integrity would put a stop to it.

    Then again they are politicians.

    Greg M,

    Thanks for reminding me of rotten and corrupt politicians. Good old Joh; how we miss him up here.

    I suppose under Joh the trains ran on time. I recall they said the same about Hitler and Mussolini.

  • Yep, Rudd is taking cheap shots and their not doing something that the other side hasn’t done.

    “But everyone else was doing it” isn’t much of a reason. Appointments should be made based on skills and experience that make someone suitable for the position.

    Not that I particularly care since we’re talking about who to send to the UN, it’s not like they’ll actually be doing anything.

  • Peter,

    You’re right that Joh was an evil and corrupt old bastard. He should have done time for his corrupt activities and would have done so if a certain jury member hadn’t ignored his jury oath.
    I never knew that he made the trains run on time. It just shows that there is a little bit of good to be found in everyone if we look hard enough to find it.

    Still that has got nothing to do with the merit, or more accurately the complete lack of merit, of the Gair ambassadorial appointment.

    I don’t have a problem with well-credentialled politicians, or anyone else who is well qualified for that matter, being appointed to diplomatic positions. It helps stop the diplomatic service becoming a self-regarding incestuous little club of mediocrities. When you consider some of the diplomatic representatives we have had such as Tony Kevin (former Ambassador to Poland) and Alison Broinowski you’ll realise that our career diplomatic service is quite capable of producing some real duds. When I read the gibberish they publish these days I shudder to think that they once were charged with the responsibility of representing our country overseas. I’d rather be represented by a circus clown, who’d bring more dignity to the position.

    I think that Robert Hill is well suited for the role of Ambassador to the UN. I think that given his background, especially as Defence Minister, where considering matters of national strategic interest forms a large part of the job, will have given him an excellent grounding for his new job.

    I am bi-partisan on this. In the distant future, if Labor is ever returned to power federally, there would be a number of its members whom I think would be well-qualified for appointment to diplomatic posts, among them Kim Beazley, Kevin Rudd (though it seems that Rudd has ruled himself out from such a future role)and, for an economics based position, Simon Crean. Better to have people of their calibre than some second-rate hack from the career diplomatic service, of whom there sem to be a few.

    Vince Gair, however, was a special case. His appointment didn’t just prostitute the diplomatic service. It debauched it.

  • Dear Greg M,

    I understand your point of view. I still think to pay off the person with an appointment is a blight on the system.

    I think the same applies to ex pollies becoming lobbyists.

    There should be a ban on both such appointments for at least a year after they leave politics.

    You might also be right about the punctuality of QR trains.

    I might go to Central and try them one day.