Peter Hollingworth’s sad mea culpa in this week’s Bulletin
magazine was not necessary. The former viceroy can be assured that
history will show he was the Man of Steel’s scapegoat and the job at
Yarralumla should never have been offered to a religious cleric in the
What better way than to rewrite the viceroy’s job description and
make it an attractive sinecure. In other and better days, prime
minsters of the country were aware that they represented in reality
only those who voted for them – the viceroy was the man above all that.
Not so George W Bush’s deputy sheriff in the Pacific region. Wherever
there’s khaki, there he is under his Akubra, grinning inanely and
having the time of his life. Michael Jeffery, although invisible, is a
gallant and much decorated soldier and imagine his gall at having to
stand aside while Howard does all the honours. But he must have been
aware the rules have changed – and when he signed on the dotted line he
signed away his real role.
Makes it very necessary to get the President of Australia’s job
description set in concrete just in case another Howard pops up in the
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