I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had a gutful of these whinging lefties rabbiting on about whether the PM knew about doubts over the reliability of intelligence about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa, and why assorted spy outfits failed to tell him despite the fact that even the tea-lady knew the reports were a crock of horse manure. Don’t the Left read John Le Carre or watch James Bond movies? Intelligence agencies work on a “need-to-know” basis, and John Howard didn’t need to know. What’s more, he didn’t even want to know. Would you want an intelligence agency too unintelligent to realise when information is unwelcome? This is spying in a post-Hayekian era: the market’s invisible hand inexorably leads to the most efficient solution at the lowest marginal cost.
Of course, the nattering nabobs of negativism mutter about democratic “trust”, but for goodness sake, how ridiculous! Who else but the communards at the Silly Moaning Hillmer doesn’t know that politicians lie whenever they open their mouths?
Some really carping nabobs even point to the danger that the public service might second guess wrongly one day, and fail to tell a Minister something he really did need to know. But Australia’s highly evolved system of neo-responsible government has ways of dealing with this. The Departmental Head concerned is ritually sacrificed with a generous redundancy payout, and if Murpack still isn’t satisfied the Minister retires and takes up a lucrative post as a corporate sector lobbyist. In the Australian system, Ministers aren’t sacked unless A Current Affair TV crew catches them in bed with a dead girl or a live boy under fourteen years old. You might think this is an attenuated ethical regime, but they’re higher standards than we apply to sporting superstars. Just ask Gary Ablett or Wayne Carey or Warnie.