As the flak continues to fly over the Bill Farmer appointment to
Indonesia and Cabinet examines the Palmer Report today, the forensics
experts are still poring over the prime minister’s comments from
Sunday.

“Bill Farmer has been very loyal and professional and a very
effective person in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and he’s also
led Immigration during a time of unprecedented strain on the resources
of the department,” John Howard said.

That’s an admission, isn’t it, that those strains were imposed by the
government and ministers Ruddock and Vanstone? And doesn’t that make
his new job a reward for a job well done? Isn’t it the final proof that
delivering the political imperatives is much more important than
dotting the Is and crossing the Ts of administration for senior
public servants nowadays?

Peter Fray

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