Crikey readers have enquiring minds, so no doubt most of you have heard
of Sir James George Frazer’s eccentric 1922 tome on ancient rites, The Golden Bough – A Study in Magic and Religion.

Inside, there’s a passage called “The Killing of the Divine King,”
with a sub-section on “Kings killed at the end of a fixed term” – an
examination of societies that sacrificed their rulers to ensure their
continued survival.

Imagine Amanda Vanstone as a pagan priestess. Now we have a logical
explanation for the Order of Australia handed out to the head of her
incompetent department, Bill Farmer, and a whole other bunch of DIMIA
droogs. The rumours that he’s about to go must be true.

Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald offers an excellent assessment of what’s wrong with DIMIA. “The minister and the secretary have stated there is a
problem with the department’s culture which requires immediate change –
presumably from the top to bottom. This is probably the most
all-encompassing criticism by a minister of her or his department since
the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. On any analysis,
the department is totally discredited.”

It’s strange that a man who heads a department that deported an
Australian citizen by mistake and locked a mentally ill permanent
resident in a detention camp can been awarded Australia’s
second-highest honour.

Merit is clearly out the window when it comes to handing out the gongs.
So what’s the new honours policy? What are we going to see when the
next list is handed down? OAs for some of our more prominent public
service whistleblowers? Andrew Wilkie? Mike Scrafton? Tony Kevin? Bruce
Haigh? Alison Broinowski? Why not spread the joy around?