When ACT chief minister Jon
Stanhope refused to sack a young staffer who painted anti-John Howard
graffiti on Canberra buildings, he gave an intriguing excuse – and set
an interesting precedent. Stanhope’s ham-fisted handling of the issue
was highlighted late last week when he got into an ugly argument with
journalists at a meeting of attorneys-general in Darwin.

But it was his rationale for protecting his miscreant staffer that drew our attention. The Age

quoted him thus: “Mr Stanhope said he decided not to sack Mr Bruford
partly because many people in positions of importance, including
politicians and judges, ‘engage in behaviour that is wrong and
criminal’ and continue to sit on benches and in cabinet rooms.”

He’s
the ACT Attorney-General. What criminal behaviour by politicians and
judges is he aware of, and what is he doing about it? Check out the
unfolding debate on rowdy Canberra blog The Riot Act.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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