Malcolm Turnbull, Pontius Pilate, the governments of Nauru and PNG

Last night Turnbull appeared on Four Corners and was asked if, as Prime Minister, he felt at all responsible for the self immolation of two people in detention centres. His reply was that he didn’t because the responsibility was that of the governments of Nauru and PNG not Australia.

For those of us who had a religious education we are reminded of an incident in the new Testament where Pontius Pilate washed his hands as he passed Christ over for crucifixion. It is the incident where the metaphor “he washed his hands of it” was born.

Mathias_Stomer_Pilate_washes_his_hands_after_the_condemnation_of_Christ_1650.jpg

 Matthias Stomer “Pilate washes his hands after condemning Jesus”

“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Matthew 27:24

Pilate was the Roman ruler in Jerusalem. His word was law. What he did was an abdication of responsibility. He is now famous throughout history for that one act.

In fairness to Malcolm Turnbull, at least his response was comprehensible if not particularly admirable. All that could be said for Bill Shorten was that he said that he wasn’t as bad as Malcolm Turnbull.

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