"As far as the Australian Government’s concerned, it’s interesting that there’s an election in Australia later this year and Mr Hicks will be in custody until after it, and he won’t be able to speak about his circumstances for another year."
Indeed it is interesting and highly unlikely to be a coincidence.
More so because of the admission from U.S. military sources that Hicks signed an agreed plea deal before entering the tribunal room on Monday. The ’fix’ was already in and even the most cynical of observers cannot deny the relationship between events surrounding Hicks now and the impending federal election to be called by mid-January 2008 at the absolute latest. The Howardians want – nay, need – Hicks out of the way, out of the limelight well and truly before announcing the date.
The issue of David Hicks and what he’s been through, what his own government deliberately put him through by inaction and denying him the support every citizen has a right to expect, will not go away quickly. David Hicks will become a sign post, an identifying historical scar on Howard’s political legacy. As will his ignorance of majority public opinion in regard to taking this country to a war which remains none of our concern four years later. As will his discriminatory treatment of asylum-seekers, his antediluvian legislation dealing with refugee assessment, his lies over ’children overboard’, WMD in Iraq, Workchoices, the stripping of funding from Medicare, Universities, the never-ever GST, the increased raft of 160 new taxes since 2000, collusion with the ethanol industry, guarantees about communications for the bush, and so the list goes on
Should David Hicks be considered a ’hero’, another Ned Kelly? In Bannerman’s opinion, no. The man is a fool. A misguided, gullible idiot. He’s most definitely not a terrorist, nor even a terrorist supporter. David Hicks did, has done and Bannerman sincerely trusts, will continue to follow his own mind on issues he considers important to him. As should every single human being alive today. To do otherwise is to betray one’s own self. Ned Kelly didn’t betray his beliefs and that’s why he is still held in a position of legend in the Australian ethos. Whether Hicks becomes a modern day Kelly is yet to be seen, but the echos of his treatment at the hands of an ally and the tacit assent to that treatment by his own government will sound down through history for a long time. A hero? No, not a hero, but a symbol of what can happen to any Australian in the interests of determined ideological demagogues. In that regard, not all that much different to Ned Kelly. The establishment, with all its flaws and corrupt ingredients, crush Kelly and it has done it’s level best to crush Hicks while benefiting politically along the way. It’s a shame that the political benefit seems to have collided with the political inevitabilities. Now it’s time to face the political consequences.
Is Hicks a hero? No, at least not yet.