It is time to join some dots about the potentially deadly conspiracies against Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson, writes Bob Ellis.
IT IS TIME, I think, we joined some dots.
A week ago, two young people accidentally caused a suicide. They were fired, their show was cancelled, they said sorry, and they wept; one offered to hug the dead person's relatives, and money was given to those relatives by the radio station they worked for.
Two days ago, a similar story was told. Four grown men, Ashby, Abbott, Brough and Pyne, tried to drive to suicide a vulnerable man and nearly succeeded — and they did it deliberately.
They falsely accused him of a criminal act, and published some private, light-hearted, letters that distressed his family and ruined his career. When it was discovered they had done this they did not weep, nor say sorry, nor offer money, nor show contrition; they said his 'potty mouth' showed him to be underserving of office and if he had suicided, well, big deal.
Two of the same men ‒ Abbott and Pyne ‒ tried as well to drive another man, Craig Thomson, to suicide, and a doctor, Mal Washer, warned them they were doing so. They did it by saying falsely he had with half a million thieved dollars paid for whores. They distressed his pregnant wife and endangered his tiny children and cost him, with these arrant falsehoods, his career. They did not say sorry for this either.
These comparisons have not thus far been made; because it common practice for the Liberals to accuse opponents of being slime-balls and harass them in the chamber and on television. One of them, Nick Sherry, attempted suicide — apparently as the result of Peter Costello’s incessant slurs. Another, Greg Wilton, succeeded, and is dead now and will not be alive again.
And Abbott, a few hours ago, did not say sorry, or weep, or offer money or contrition. He defiantly asked if the ruined man would be Speaker again. He knew full well that his mob had used the court to publish letters that would never otherwise have come to light; which made restoration politically, and diplomatically, impossible. It resembled closely the publication by Murdoch of Prince Charles' 'tampon' phone call and a subsequent campaign that he should, therefore, never be King.
What has happened resembles blackmail, in the sense that a secret letter damaging to the author is revealed — and the author is asked to advantage the blackmailer and so save his reputation.
Blackmail is a crime, and attracts a prison sentence, and this should also.