After the AFP raided the offices of the AWU to ask about a legal donation, the discussion swirls around many things. However, I believe our collective anger might have been the goal.
The AFP’s raid on activist entity GetUp! is so lamely transparent it could pass as a credit card ad.
Spooling cost of the NBN rollout: $49 billion
Repairs to a kicked in door: $17.50
Nation distracted from the issue: Priceless.
Timing is indeed a beautifully odd thing. Yesterday eve, the Australian Federal Police politely knocked on the door to politely inquire about a public donation of $100,000 from the Australian Workers’ Union to GetUp! in 2006. It seems that the donation was made above board. Even more interestingly, the day before the raid, old mate George Brandis essentially stated that accepting money in this fashion was “appropriate and commonplace.”
George Brandis just stated that being a paid lobbyist while holding office was “appropriate and commonplace.” pic.twitter.com/Cr7qHJsVDI
— GetUp! (@GetUp) October 23, 2017
From there, the conversation spooled to Malcolm’s Afterthought Police, as massed fingers were pointed to previous AFP raids, aided and abetted by the suspicious placement of television cameras, as boots forever seem to be pointed at the antagonists of the Coalition. Suffice to say, the Auspol Twitterati lost their minds, with Bevan Shields talking in capitals, his antagonists yelling even louder:
THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INSTRUCT THE AFP TO CONDUCT RAIDS #auspol
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) October 24, 2017
Brilliant! Here is the screenshot 😘 Some journos need to wake up 🙁 pic.twitter.com/4jUkyMKTLv
— Melanie 🕵️♀️ (@CartwheelPrint) October 24, 2017
Beyond that, the hot takes washed over the shores of intelligencia, as the discussion shifted from the irony of a force with no resources massing for a raid, why the AFP didn’t hit the Commonwealth Bank, or indeed why Aldi’s suspiciously low prices are not on their radar. Valid points, all. But I think we’ve been duped, in fact, I contend that the raid was merely a knife deliberately dropped into the pit.
And we’ve been here before.
Last year, ALP minister Stephen Conroy’s office was raided, as certain documents were saught. Strangely, this happened during the dangerously close Federal Election. A raid which was later found to be illegal by the Senate Privileges Committee, who ordered the documents to be returned. Wind the clock forward to 2017, and not three days the other side of Malcolm Turnbull admitting that the NBN would fundamentally never work, forever beset by slow speeds and even slower profits, a door was once more notably kicked. If there’s one thing we Australians hate more than being ripped off, it’s having our governmental overlords overstepping their mark. And it worked. Even in this piece, which was supposed to be about the NBN. A questionable raid is far more interesting. That being said, distraction politics is a hallmark of the Coalition government thus far. With the High Court set to rule on the highly publicised ‘Citizenship Seven’ on Friday afternoon, don’t be surprised if this issue continues to walk to the end of the week and then slip into the ether.
But, back to the NBN. While Malcolm blamed Labor for this glacial clusterboink, and pointed at the New Zealand example to how it should have been done, nothing was said to address the issue as of tomorrow. The past was analysed, but not the future. The original completion date of the rollout was 2020, but we do not know if that date is still gospel. Do we now just continue to shovel more taxpayer funds into the bonfire, as those with the shovel shrug and deny responsibility? Probably. Perhaps it’s too late to stop. Perhaps it’s easier to keep wading through the sea of broken connections rather than turning around to swim toward the shore and start over again. If that’s the case, there should be but one question.
In the field of time and money, how much is that going to cost us?