Monday, March 15, 2010

The flunky fights back

Extraotrdinary. David Smith, sole defender of truth, does it again.

Smith, apart from being a former flunky to the GG, has also become a contributor of note to Quadrant. In that role he has played a bit of a role in defending the idea that there is one correct history. Quadrant of course, and its current editor, Keith Windshuttle, have been fond of regarding any written record as superior to any oral record.

But in refuting Malcolm Fraser's claim Smith goes one further than those who are criticised by his Quadrant fellow travellers.

The argument goes that, because John Kerr did not tell him that the conversation with Fraser included the two disputed points, they cannot have occurred. So we are asked to believe that the absence of heresay evidence is more significant than the evidence of a person who was present and who has a note that purports to be contemporaneous with the conversation.

That Kerr and Fraser may have denied it in the immediately following period, and that Kerr may have left it out of his briefing to Smith, are merely consistent with their concern that the conversation was improper. Would this be the first time people had lied to hide a misdeed?

PS Meanwhile Fraser's co-author Margaret Simons and Gerard Henderson have been having a separate stoush that has been reported in both Crikey and Media Watch Dog. Henderson has asked the pefectly reasonable question of why the time and date on the note is in a different pen than the rest. The supposed answer is that Fraser dated it later that day, but is now relying on a thirty year old memory to make that claim.

It is however interesting to note that Smith claims the extra two conditions were not discussed later at Government House, which means they either were discussed on the phone call or that this note was merely Fraser's idea of what he planned to offer but was never asked to.

At the moment I'm favouring the version in the Fraser book. Ether way, the evidence remains that Kerr handled the situation abomoinably. He should never have ambushed Whitlam. No "advice" from Whitlam as PM was ever enough to stop the GG withdrawing his Commission, and it is entirely unlikly that a "race to the palace" would have seen the Queen remove Kerr' commission.

PPS Perhaps Richard Nixon had the right idea and all conversation in the head of state's offices should be recorded.

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