Maybe we need Congress-style confirmation hearings to sort through the federal government’s appointments …

Natasha Stott Despoja as our new ambassador for women and girls? An admirable aisle-crossing pick for an eminently capable advocate (even if we’re not entirely sure what the role entails, and we’re fairly sure the Asian nations we’re going to lecture on female political participation might just have something to say on the female representation in Tony Abbott’s cabinet).

Institute of Public Affairs ideologue Tim Wilson as a “freedom commissioner” at the Human Rights Commission? You know what, there’s merit in that, too. As Bernard Keane argues today:

“… there’s no doubting the IPA has an instinctive distaste for anything that limits civil liberties or free speech, and that’s not something we’re exactly over-endowed with in Australia. If there’s going to be a body like the HRC, it should focus on free speech as well as other rights.”

But Sophie Mirabella, dumped by her electorate for arrogance and neglect, appointed to the board of a government-owned naval shipbuilding firm? A soft landing indeed for one of their own, with a $71,680 salary to attend 12 meetings next year on a subject that, frankly, she doesn’t know a great deal about.

But then, one-and-a-half out of three ain’t bad …

(We were kidding about the confirmation hearings. Terrible idea.)


Angry about Sophie Mirabella’s plum new post? You could always vote for the woman who unseated her, independent Cathy McGowan, in our 2013 Crikey Person of the Year. McGowan has been nominated along with the likes of Peter Fox, Edward Snowden, Ita Buttrose and Satoshi Nakamoto to take out the gong. And don’t forget to vote for our Arsehat of the Year while you’re at it. Have your say here; voting closes at noon AEST tomorrow.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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