Now that Mark Bahnisch has gone solo and presumably taken his sociology/philosphy minded readers with him, we can get back to politics. It’s good timing on Mark’s account because after a six month slumber after the election, some interesting things are happening, not least to West Australian Senator Ross Lightfoot.
Lightfoot? Lightfingers? Lightweight? It is hard to tell, with stories about his activities saying this and that, and it all adds up to a curious tale indeed.
We can establish, from all this that several things have happened. First, Curtin University’s Woodside Hydrocarbon Research Facility ponied up $25,000 for a hospital in Kurdistan, and that Senator Lightfoot was at least present when this money was transferred.
You might be surprised to find that an Australian university faculty would be so generous. It turns out that the head of same is a prominent member of the Australian Kurdish community. And in addition, Senator Lightfoot’s travelling companion was the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan representative in Australia. And Woodside Petroleum has interests in Iraqi oil exploration.
And, in addition, Senator Lightfoot was a shareholder in Woodside Petroleum; shares he disposed of on March 15, as the story was about to break.
And there’s a mystery signature to a document that may or may not be a MoA between Woodside and Iraqi authorities.
And then there’s the firearms that he may or may not have been waving around.
And, not least, the confession to the journalist.
This Murky Mesopotamian Mystery is all very curious.
At the very least, Senator Lightfoot’s behavior is a display of extraordinary poor judgement. The Senator was supposed to be in Iraq to observe the election. I would have thought that there would have been quite enough on his plate to be going on with.
Donations to Iraqi hospitals are fine; indeed, are to be welcomed, however, prudence would have suggested a cheque might have been better. Senators should know better then to be waving large sums of cash about. Cash can be hard to account for. I hope that $25,000 has got to its intended destination. Woodside says it has; how do they know?
Strictly speaking, that donation is a matter for Woodside shareholders to be concerned about; if I was one of them, I would at the very least cast a cold hard stare as to why cash was used rather then more accountable financial instruments.
But back to the Senator.
The first thing we can all agree on is that that Lightfoot has shown questionable judgement (i.e, he is a blockhead.) The Prime Minister’s main action has been to talk to him, and one can only laugh at what Mr. Howard told him. We can guess that the first thing was to shut up; beyond that, well, who knows.
The political implications are going to be interesting though. Has Lightfoot done anything illegal? If he has, can he be be removed from the Senate? And if he is removed from the Senate, the West Australian government will be in the delightful position of choosing his replacement. To be sure, the Consititution says (Section 15), that if Lightfoot goes, he has to be replaced by a Liberal. But it will still be fun. An ALP Premier will be in charge of Liberal Senate pre-selections. Ha!
Such constitutional meanderings are mere idle speculation, of course. Howard will protect his misguided missile of a Senator. But Lightfoot’s credibility is shot; and he’s nobody but himself to blame.