Tuesday, February 13, 2007

finally, someone grew some stones

oh wait — he isn't one of ours ... ?

hat tip to crooks and liars.

the speaker: order. order. the honorable leader of the opposition?

opposition leader kevin rudd: thank you, mr. speaker. i seek leave to move the following motion: this house censures the prime minister

[scattered boos]

rudd: — for his statement that al-qaeda is praying —

the speaker: order! order!

rudd: — for a democratic party candidate to win the next united states presidential election.

two: his false statements today in parliament that his statement yesterday was restricted to one u.s. senator, and not the democratic party as a whole.

three: the damage that this partisan comment has done to the united states-australia alliance and to australia's relationships with both american democratic and republican members of congress and

four: the gross insensitivity in lecturing united states presidential candidates on iraq, when the war in iraq is responsible for the deaths more than 3,000 u.s. servicemen and -women, the wounding of 20,000, and expenditures exceeding 360 billion, and finally demands that the prime minister unreservedly withdraws this remark.

the speaker: his leave granted. leave is granted. the honorable leader of the opposition:

rudd: thank you, mr. speaker.

how can the man who is prime minister of this country come into this parliament and say that he is a person of experience on the question of national security when within the last 24 hours he has made this statement, that when it comes to the operation of al-qaeda and its dealings in the world of international affairs today, that somehow al-qaeda is an organisation, a terrorist organisation that would prefer to see a democrat win the next presidential elections rather than any other representative of another political party?

the prime minister today has inserted that in fact he was only making a reference to mr. obama, one of the us democratic party presidential candidates. it's important that we place this unequivocally on the record. yesterday the prime minister was asked this question, in relation to the obama plan:

yes, i think he's wrong. i mean, he's a long way from being president of united states. i think he's wrong. i think that that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy iraq and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and to hope for obama victory. if i was running al-qaeda in iraq, i would put a circle around march 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a victory — not only for obama but also for the democrats.

but also for the democrats. that is not an addition invented by the australian labor party. that's not an addition invented by anybody else. that was spoken yesterday — or would we dare say misspoken yesterday — by the prime minister of australia on a matter of great consequence — that is, the future of this country's relationship with the united states, particularly on the question of the future direction of iraq policy.

to accuse the democratic party of the united states as being al-qaeda's party of choice, to accuse the democratic party as being the terrorists' party of choice — this is a most serious charge. to accuse the party of roosevelt, to accuse the party of truman, to accuse the party of kennedy and johnson of being the terrorists' party of choice. i cannot understand how any responsible leader of this country can say to the nation that it's his serious view that the democratic party of the united states is the terrorists' party of choice. but these are your words, prime minister. i did not invent them; they are yours. and in this parliament today we gave you every opportunity to say that you got it wrong —

the speaker: order! order! the leader will refer his remarks through the chair.

mr rudd: — we gave the prime minister every opportunity to say that it was wrong. it may have been that he got caught up in the flurry of the interview. it may have been that he didn't hear it clearly. it may have been that he didn't understand it clearly. i understand that these things can happen, but when you are given given not once, not twice but on three separate occasions in this place today an opportunity to say, "i got that wrong; i didn't mean that." and for him to pass each of those up i think says much about the partisan nature with which this prime minister now views the relationship with our great american ally.

let us be absolutely clear about what is at stake here: not just an attack on a single u.s. senator, but an attack upon an entire political party. and here is where australia's national interest kicks in: this party, the democratic party, currently controls the majority in the united states house, it controls the majority in the united states senate, and within a year or so's time, may control the white house itself. and this is the party which this prime minister, in this country, and this parliament today, has reaffirmed he describes this party as the terrorists' party of choice. this is a serious matter.

prime minister, could you imagine if i stood up in this parliament as the alternative prime minister and said to the people of australia that the terrorists would be advantaged if the republicans were to return to the white house at the next presidential election? ponder for a moment how that would be regarded. how would it be seized on by those opposite?

[scattered assent]

can you imagine the reaction from those opposite. if i stood at this dispatch box, if i appeared on national television and said that the republicans, if they won, would cause an eruption of joy on the part of al-qaeda and on the part of the terrorists? can you imagine the reaction from those opposite?

[scattered assent]

this is a grave mistake and i fear that it reflects a deep view on the part of the prime minister in turn to those with whom he may not share a view within the u.s. political system.

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