“What do we have here?”, we coyly ask, as we pry open the pages of George Brandis’ diary, eyes ravenously scanning for the juiciest of goss. Turns out…we have a lot of nothing.
Well, it’s happened. The rusted lock on the diary has been chiselled off. As we tear at the foolscap paper within, the sound of our eager acts drowns out the plaintive anguish of its owner, who now sits in the quadrangle, glasses misty, trying to avoid eye contact.
Ner ner, we have Georgie’s diary.
Now, aside from the lurid scribbles of unrequited, hopeful love, and photocopied pictures of the ALP with their eyes scratched out with a compass, the most important thing that isn’t there, is what he kinda said would be there.
Yes, that rising smell is the odour of political doublespeak. Put very simply, it goes like this:
George said he did something, the diary says otherwise.
The excerpt from the diary (September 2013 to April 2014) has no record of George meeting with the legal community before cutting $64 million from the 2014 budget ($6 million from community legal centres, $15 million from legal aid commissions and $43 million from advocacy services). Mark Dreyfus, Brandis’ ex-coworker, took umbrage with the cuts, and three years later, here we are, knee-deep in a hot mess.
A spokesperson for Office o’ Brandis said: “Quite often, the Attorney-General arranges meetings himself and these are not always entered in the diary,” or in schoolyard English: “sucked in”. For all the criticism however, it’s probably worth note, it’s an art form.
Three years of resolute stonewalling has resulted in a document which proves nothing. This is the Sistine Chapel of political deniability.