Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Butler did it

Distinguished weapons inspector. Australian diplomat abroad. At home, Richard Butler is immersed in controversy as he resigns from the post of Tasmanian Governor amid accusations and derision. What was his sin that he offended the Tasmanian Government House flunkies to the extent that they resigned and set the media a-frenzy? Arrogance, they said. Oh deary me. How terrible. Fie.

Of course I know no more than the rest of the country, exposed only to what the media chooses to report. However, my interpretation has it that Butler simply did not take the post of Governor, of Queen's representative to the little Apple Isle, so seriously. He is a declared opponent of the Monarchy for Australia and a supporter of the moves to make the nation a republic. Not the ideal choice for an absurdly pompous, ribbon-cutting archaic role. Indeed, it was aberrant of him to accept the job and downright silly of Tasmania's government to appoint him.
He was right, however, to cut the pretentions of the institution down to size. I hope it leaves a mark on this arch colonial tradition. It is long past its use-by date.
That he is being paid some $650,000 on top of his $350,000 salary by way of a golden handshake sticks in the craw a bit. That's easy money for 10 months of not work.
Now let's just hope they find something more constructive to do with a smart man who should be an asset to the country.

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