Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lies ,wrongdoing and asking questions

Its the last day of Parliament for 2012 , and it will be dominated by a frustrating war of words that is all the worse for being so personal.  No one wants this sort of nonsense to be the main game in Parliament  and both major parties will be under scrutiny for their clear role in prolonging it . One it seems by asking questions,  and the other for not answering questions.
Whatever comes to light today (29th November 2012) The Prime Ministers and Cabinets reliance on "lawyer speak" ( cf using a variety of language ) goes down badly with those of us who think the matter is about facts ( did Julia write a letter to defend the setting up of a slush fund) and answering questions.WE can all be pedants but no dispute at home resolves if we do that !
As Nixon, the lawyer,  so famously said " Remember you can always say " I don't remember"  and that expression is today---the theme . Similarly saying "I did nothing wrong" ( or the term "no wrongdoing") can be  a legally acceptable  cover for wrongdoing because in the  Western tradition noone is assumed guilty unless proven guilty - because the question has not been put in a court of law ; therefore because there is no court,  there is technically no "wrongdoing ". "Lies" similiarly
The fact that our society at present ,  like many,  before it has lost sight of the basis for its legal principles ( and its very high sensitivity to the extremely delicate matter of knowledge) is no excuse - and only adds to the importance of "answering questions ".( the basis for responsibility - answer- ability)  Infact, the public confusion ( wrong in principle or wrong in law? ) being used to cover the poor use of words by Labor could be considered an abuse of public trust.
The opposition are allowed and even encouraged to ask questions , Those in power don't have to answer them( noone can force anyone to do anything that isn't against the law in this country or ever - we have a wonderful rights and legal system ) , but if they don't , it reflects badly on those in power .
Sending in the troops to defend someone also doesn't work if the person facing a straight accusation doesn't directly answer it themselves ( we are all perosnally responsible for our own actions and how we explain them is our business) - If someone fails to defend themselves against an accusation they are wasting the courts time - given to them in grace and opportunity . There has been a lot of not answering questions  in Parliament-- of various kinds --Labor
I hope Julia did nothing wrong in principle in this case and can legitimately  use the valid excuse of " not knowing ". If she  has done the wrong she's not alone but a  lawyer in her situation has only one option .To use language to answer questions ------not to hide behind language. Plead guilty or not guilty.

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