Tuesday 14 August 2007


The Hicks and Moti cases reveal a very different level of enthusiasm in Alexander Downer for seeing legal cases promptly brought to justice.

David Hicks must watch with envy, the Australian government’s pursuit of Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti. If only Alexander Downer was as committed to bringing him to justice, irrespective of the diplomatic implications, he must think.

Australia is pursuing Moti on charges of child sexual abuse that have been heard and dropped in Vanuatu. The case looks fragile (See David Marr and Marian Wilkinson’s piece here) but Australia’s pursuit of Moti has created major tension across the Pacific.

The pursuit of Moti is in stark contrast to the government’s limp efforts to bring Hicks to trial. And the Foreign Minister is at his imperious best when criticising the Pacific nations that have helped Moti elude Australian courts. A very different tone indeed to that used in relation to the US government and the Hicks case.

It seems that the Foreign Minister’s righteousness and moral outrage are a function of his measurement of the relative world power of the nation in question and his own prejudices rather than the substance of the legal or moral offense in question.

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