Friday, 10 July 2015

The Royal Commission into the

trade union movement may or may not be a "witch hunt". It may or may not depend on which side of politics you are whether you believe that or not. 
I don't really believe that governments spend $80m on a Royal Commission just to conduct a "witch hunt" against their opposition. It is possible I suppose but I think it is unlikely.
So far this RC  has uncovered less than was expected. Those opposed to it say this proves it has been a waste of money.
But has it? 
The Opposition Leader in the Federal Parliament asked to appear in front of the RC. He was, he said, going to clear his name. He was going to show he had done nothing wrong.
He has spent the last two days in front of it "answering" questions. His appearance has been an excellent lesson in how to "answer" a question without actually answering it at all. I won't go into details but, like many other politicians (of all persuasions) he is a master at the art of not answering questions he does not wish to answer.
While he was still at it yesterday afternoon someone arrived to pick up some things I had been keeping for her.
"I wish you were there asking the questions Cat," she told me. I must have looked rather startled because she added, "I think he might find it rather more difficult to obfuscate."
It is of course my job to ensure that people are communicating with one another. I am supposed to know how to ask a question. Teachers, and I was one once, are supposed to know these things. 
Would I be any match for a street-smart politician though? Probably not. He would be even more determined not to answer questions he did not wish to answer. His answers were carefully crafted. He had obviously been well briefed by his extensive legal team. (I find it interesting that people need extensive legal teams to appear in front of a RC where they are, supposedly, merely providing information.) When an unexpected question came up he took his time answering and did so in convoluted language.
I suspect that any politician at all, of any persuasion, would do exactly the same thing. It is an art successful politicians learn before they go into politics. It is why they belong to the debating clubs at university or are active in unions or local government before they head for the bigger debating chamber. 
The head of the RC was  not impressed by  the Opposition Leader's performance. He put it carefully but it was clear that he was rather more than mildly irritated by it. I suspect he wanted to thump the bench and demand the questions being put were answered. They won't be. The Opposition Leader may be recalled at a later date. If he is then he now knows what to expect. His legal team will be well prepared and he will be ready for the tricky questions. 
It's a game, a serious game but still a game to people like him.
You can't stop people lying by avoiding the questions put to them.
Maybe it would be fun to try and trip him up?

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