A Tale of Two Ministers
Two ministers have clearly crumbled under public pressure. The circumstances are very different and one of them has to go.
The ship of Federal Government has taken some damage to both the port and starboard sides.
The damage on the left was largely self inflicted with the hapless handling of the rape allegations within a ministerial office. From what I have ascertained, it is the public response two years later that is doing more damage than the post-rape counselling process.
It is entirely reasonable for anyone who hears of a sexual assault to offer support to the victim and suggest they report it to police. They cannot force that report to be made, nor should they share that information with others.
Imagine if, seeking advice, you confided in a friend or work colleague about a terrible event in your life and that person then went on to tell others. It would be seen as a gross betrayal no matter how well intentioned it may be.
Where that information alleges criminal acts by a third person, repeating that material may have defamatory imputations.
In this respect, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds is on the side of common sense.
However, her inability or unwillingness to answer questions in the Senate means she is not up to the task entrusted to her. If the Minister for Defence cannot handle a situation such as this, she simply cannot remain in the portfolio.
It is quite telling that a Brigadier in the Australian Army is not able to withstand a political grilling. I only hope rest of the ADF brass are made of sterner stuff.
The other minister under the pump is Attorney General Christian Porter.
A whisper campaign alleging impropriety over 30 years ago did the rounds. This culminated in a letter sent to the likes of Penny Wong and Sarah Hanson-Young. These two opportunistic political vultures wasted no time in whipping the media into a frenzy; demanding Porter stand down until he could prove his innocence.
Presuming men guilty of whatever women accuse them of has become somewhat of an art form.
Whether the accusations gain traction depends on the political colours you wear. A conservative is presumed guilty while a lefty generally gets a more muted reception. Think of the treatment of Bill Clinton and Joe Biden versus Brett Cavanagh and Donald Trump.
It is a matter of record that Porter's accuser asked police not to examine her complaint just before she took her own life. I don't know her state of mind or her mental health history but can only conclude she was unwell.
Traducing the memory of a young woman ( against her family's wishes) by making these allegations public post-mortem is shameful. Using untested claims by a dead woman to target a public figure more than 30 years later is a disgrace.
Leading the charge was their ABC with the two aforementioned politicians only too eager to pontificate from the podium of hypocrisy.
When Porter appeared for a press conference, it was clear this entire affair had taken a heavy toll. Courageously he acknowledged the mental health implications of the ordeal and announced he was seeking treatment.
I am not surprised. The personal toll of battling allegations of this nature, which are impossible to disprove, would be very high.
That's the reason I view the Porter and Reynolds personal breakdowns differently.
One is a matter of an individual unable to cope with the most basic requirements of their job. The other is an individual who has experienced a grotesque personal character assassination led by the media mob and a bunch of hypocrites.
Perhaps you view this differently. If so, I'd welcome your assessment in the comments below.