Cole’s Red Spot Specials

Terence is not a name I’d choose for myself or any of my future children. Nor is it a name I’d ascribe to a dog, a cray fish or a cockroach. One must, when one meets a Terence, enquire as to why they chose not to adopt the more acceptable Terry – or even Tezza… but I digress.

Terence Cole was the man responsible for the “Cole Report” the document produced following a $10 million inquiry into the so called “AWB scandal” – the biggest piece of politically charged controversy since the children overboard fiasco. The Australian Wheat Board – or the wheat mafia – is the organisation which represents Australian farmers to ensure they get the best possible price for exported wheat. The AWB decided that the Iraqi wheat market was particularly lucrative due to UN imposed trade sanctions – and sought to secure the Iraq contract by providing “payments” to the Hussein regime. These payments were worth $290 million and were reportedly used to supply Hussein’s soldiers (heretofore referred to as Moustache Petes*) with weapons of individual destruction (ie guns). (Sidenote – if I was going to start selling miracle weightloss pills I would call them weapons of mass destruction). Somebody flipped the lid – blew the whistle – or revealed what was going on and the whole thing created a public furore… well actually it didn’t. It should have. But the whole issue hasn’t really engaged with the public at all. The Australian gradually moved the AWB scandal coverage from the front page to the middle – in a surefire sign that the issue wasn’t moving any more papers. It hasn’t had an adverse affect on the government’s popularity – which should be at record lows according to the media’s protests over changes to industrial relations laws, media ownership and this scandal.

The problem – perhaps epitomised best by the actual report – is that no mud from this situation is sticking on John Howard’s Teflon ministers. Once upon a time ministers were called on to resign at even the whiff of a scandal. Now the government prefers to take to the trenches and sit out the public furore before making any moves. The fact that the memos made their way to Alexander Downer’s department – but were not read by the minister – suggests a gross failure on behalf of the bureaucrats involved. Labor tried laboriously to labour home the point – but failed to score – with John Howard now winning the PR battle by calling for apologies to all the senior ministers who were so spuriously burdened with the weight of the opposition’s aspersions. But really – who cares? Nobody. And we should – on one hand we’re off liberating the Iraqis (a concept I’m not entirely opposed to provided the traditional interpretation of “liberating” is adhered to and not the Bush government’s – which requires the carpet bombing of “liberated” areas to truly ensure the “liberated” state is reached.) – and on the other we’re putting guns in their hands. Surely we could have supplied them with water pistols, or something slightly less deadly. Perhaps water pistols should be standard issue weaponry in all wars – then Pte Kovco’s mother would not have to attack the government for any form of cover up over his death in Iraq.

And finally, I’ll be in Brisbane from tomorrow until Monday – if you’d like to see me please contact my agent to negotiate an exorbitant appearance fee.

* I’ve never mentioned the moustache Petes before – I just wanted to use the word heretofore – I will also hereafter refer to said shady characters as moustache Petes – particularly in this month of “Movember”**
** A stupid concept.


Anonymous says:


Stewart says:

As far as I understood, AWB made payments to a Jordanian Trucking Company. Although this was definitely a mistake since the UN programme wouldn’t have required the use of such a trucking company (or so I presume), do we know for sure that AWB persons who were aware of the payments also knew that Ahliah or however you say it was channelling money across the border to Sadam. If they were then they definitely should have known better, but to be honest there’s more to this thing than just the corruption and the Australian Politics.

And now the AWB monopoly could well be over… and won’t the wheat farmers in the US be ever so pleased. This whole fiasco seems very likely to have been beat-up by the American interests in seeing Australian Wheat and its farmers destroyed, since they hate that our grain growers are more efficient and more productive than theirs.

The point is there’s so much more to this news story than corrupt businessmen, incompetent bureaucrats and possibly sly politicians. And I really need to read the Cole report before I say any more…

Nathan says:

there’s nothing wrong with your understanding of the situation Stewart – when you describe a situation in a nutshell you have to leave out a lot of stuff – the fact is though, Australian money went to the Saddam regime to secure wheat contracts. Some people involved in the decision making process clearly knew they were in the wrong.

Anonymous says:

stewart – you are an idiot.

Nathan says:

ahh anonymous – and I can only assume you’re not the nice friendly anonymous – in the words of someone famous at some point in time. It’s time for you to play “hide and go shoot yourself”

Stewart says:

Fair enough…

And seemingly those people in the AWB that knew and did wrong will face justice… soon.

Anonymous will have to try a bit harder, I’ve heard better insults from primary school children

AndrewF says:

Townsville – 1942 – hot tuna – harmonica – pulmonary – frogs – somatic cell nuclear transfer:

In genetics and developmental biology, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a technique for creating an ovum with a donor nucleus (see process below) . It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to “therapeutic cloning.” It can also be used as the first step in the process of reproductive cloning.

AndrewF says:

oops. delete that. That’l teach me to have two tabs opened on your blog at once!