The late Bob Menzies knew a thing or two about Australia and Australians that his acolyte John Howard does not. We do not, as a rule, like bosses. And for good reason.

The canny Menzies who, among other things, lent a hand to founding the Liberal Party (entirely to do with resurrecting his own career) was all
too well aware of the ordure surrounding big business after the Great Depression. He kept a discreet distance from it, even though his party
represented its interests (despite its protestations to the contrary).

Putting aside for the moment the main reason why Howard looks headed for defeat, the ironically named WorkChoices, Menzies would never have personally endorsed such lawbreakers as Alan Jones and Dick Pratt, nor embraced the dubious Rob Gerard as Costello has.

Menzies was a shocking old Cold Warrior and a very successful one – but he was very careful about the company he kept, and to whom he granted the rare accolade.

Howard has publicly lauded both Pratt, who has cheated the system, and Jones, who has abused his privileges and the broadcasting laws. Both are strong Liberal supporters (and in Pratt’s case, a donor).

Quite clearly in the moral world of John Howard and his government, those who cheat the system and break the laws are “good blokes” so long as they are Liberal supporters.

In a truly just world, Pratt would be banned from business and possibly imprisoned (and even executed in China), and Jones would be off air and his station’s licence cancelled. But no chance of that.

May the electorate think carefully about whom this mob is protecting.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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