Prime Minister Tony Abbott has claimed that Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs had lost the confidence of the government and had lost the confidence of the Australian people.
That’s pretty rich coming from men who has a 75% disapproval rating in the Australian electorate. And how does a man who is so hopelessly out of touch with most Australians come to this conclusion?
From the attacks on Prof Triggs in the Senate committee, is quite clear that the head-kickers in the government are trying to frame the report from the Human Rights Commission as a matter of confidence (with the implication of political bias and possibly incompetence) rather than simply a message that is politically unacceptable to the current government.
The bully-boy actions of Attorney-General George Brandis and his sidekick Senator Barry O’Sullivan in the select committee are disgraceful.
It is difficult to understand what political advantage the government thinks it can get from attacking the a Human Rights Commission. What it does shows is that they are extremely sensitive to criticism of their record on children in detention.
It looks very much like the last-ditch attempts of desperately unpopular and isolated Prime Minister to curry some favour in the party room or in the electorate.
However, it is likely that the vast proportion of the Australian population doesn’t care much about this specific issue. Those who do understand will be absolutely appalled.
But it gets worse. It appears that the government, through the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Chris Moraitis, may have offered Prof Triggs an inducement to stand down as commissioner. Quite rightly, she refused.
Just imagine the political mileage that Abbott and Brandis would have made had she accepted the offer. “A clear indication of her acceptance of the fact that she has lost the confidence of the government etc etc etc” you can hear them say.
So what we have here is yet another dismal chapter in the slow but inevitable decline of someone who may well go down in history as Australia’s worst Prime Minister.