Howard Minister in Sacking Shock: Assumed Immunity from Punishment for Misdeeds Like All Other Howard MinistersSenator Ian Campbell has expressed bewilderment following his shock 'resignation'. After revelations of meetings with disgraced former WA Premier Brian Burke, Senator Campbell was instructed to resign as Human Services Minister - but was surprised by Prime Minister John Howard's insistence as everybody else.
'I honestly believed - and fair enough too, I reckon - that as a minister of the Howard government, I was perfectly entitled to act whichever way I liked, disregard that pissy "Ministerial Code of Conduct" thing as and when it suited me, without having to actually assume there would be negative consequences for me,' said the bemused former minister.
'Hell, I mean Bill Heffernan, Wilson Tuckey, Trish Draper, De-Anne Kelly, Jim Lloyd, Amanda Vanstone, Mark Vaile and Alexander Downer have all at one point our another wiped their arse with the Code and all John's done in the past is to put his nose to it and claim it smelled like lavender! They still have their jobs, so why don't I?'
But Senator Campbell claimed there were no hard feelings towards the Prime Minister.
'Look, I've heard those cynics in the Labor mob and other lesbians whinge about how I didn't really do anything wrong, that this is far more to do with making Kevin Rudd look bad, that Howard and Costello had made such arses of themselves attacking Rudd for meeting with Burke that as soon as it came to light I had as well, they had to sack me in a pathetically desperate attempt to cover up their own culpability to keep the spotlight on Rudd in their vain attempts to smear his character, but...Hmm. Actually, that sorta sounds quite plausible...'
Responses to Senator Campbell's resignation were mixed. One senior Labor opposition minister who did not wish to be named initially expressed fury that Howard now had the gall to sack even Labor parliamentarians, before it was pointed out that WA's Senator Ian Campbell had been sacked, not NSW Senator George Campbell. She was then heard to remark: 'Oh, is that somebody else? There are two of them, are there? Are they brothers? Oh. Let's fold scarves!'
Meanwhile, a Liberal Party press release thanked Senator Campbell for his hard work as Minister for Arts and Sports. A corrective press release was issued instead thanking Senator Campbell for his hard work as Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation. A third and final press release was issued saying the Liberal Party was not entirely sure if Senator Campbell actually had a portfolio, but if he did they wished to thank him for 'his hard work on...one of those junior ministries...probably one of those pissy ones about like, endangered plants or some shit...one we usually give to a Nat. Hey - are you sure he wasn't really a Nat?'
The Prime Minister was adamant: 'This has nothing to do with getting rid of dead wood before the election or determining who I hire and fire based solely on how bad it will make Labor look rather than if they have actually done anything wrong. The Code of Conduct is absolute: It allows me the discretion not to sack ministers who are grossly corrupt, incompetent or both, provided they're mates of mine, as well as to sack ministers when it gets me one-up on that swot-faced little choir boy I'm currently in the process of smearing because I can't fault the fucker on policy.'
When it was pointed out to Mr Howard that the Code of Conduct - recently uncovered in many bits at the bottom of Jeanette Howard's Insinkerator - does not say anything of the sort, Mr Howard replied, 'Uh, yeah, it does, like, in the fine print...that's in my mind. Just coz you're too dumb to see it doesn't mean it's not there. Duh!'
UPDATE: Even the Government Gazette isn't having a bar of this BS. Select highlights:
THERE appears to be only one standard of ministerial accountability in the Howard Government: you may remain as a minister until the political advantage of your departure exceeds that of your retaining the job...
A criminal conviction punishable by imprisonment is a bar to parliamentary election. But politicians are not prevented from meeting people who have been imprisoned. It is a healthy element of Australia's culture that someone who has completed a prison term has expunged their debt to society and is entitled at least to a hearing...
Mr Howard's burst of rectitude over Senator Campbell is all the more extraordinary for the slack approach he has shown to ministerial accountability over the past nine years...
Mr Howard came to office promising a much higher standard than that of his predecessors and introduced an extensive guide on ministerial responsibility...Within the first two years, it cost seven ministers and parliamentary secretaries their jobs...
The sacrifice of Senator Campbell has nothing to do with the code. The only reason for his departure is to further the attack on Mr Rudd...
...The opportunism displayed in the dismissal of Senator Campbell reflects poorly on the judgment of the Prime Minister.