One thing that’s always amusing about the role-swap between Government and Opposition is how both sides suddenly find themselves reversing their earlier positions: defending and arguing the opposite sides of a procedural argument. Where previous utterances were based less on principle than politics (which, clearly, is most of them), this is inevitable, and both sides start producing quotes that can be contrasted revealingly with their earlier words.
The trick appears to be to point out that the other side is doing it, FIRST:
MALCOLM TURNBULL: But if the Government wants to use – if this Government, this Labor Government that used to boast about all the leaks it had from the public service and appraise the heroism of the whistleblowers that it said used to provide it with information – now wants to use the full force of the Federal Police to silence any public servant from leaking information to the current Opposition, we’re not going to be very sympathetic.
It’s hypocrisy which deserves pointing out, but you’re getting to the meta level of hypocrisy when the person pointing it out is guilty of the same sort of hypocrisy that they are hypocritically condemning. In this case, unsurprisingly, the Coalition took quite a different view of these sorts of leaks when it was in Government; very similar to the ALP’s present attitude that it now condemns. It is hypocritically arguing the reverse of what it used to argue; to launch an attack on Labor for doing the same is, well, hypocrisy about hypocrisy.
And, sure, you can get your enthusiastic hacks to bang on in a very one-sided fashion about the other side’s hypocrisy, but it’s always going to look a bit silly – because everyone older than ten knows the game, can see what they’re clearly doing and what the obvious counter is, and no-one older than that is impressed by it.
Here’s a suggestion for the commentariat: note that both sides are being inconsistent, that their passionately-argued positions today are clearly not genuine, considering how recently they came to them and how, if their prior conduct is any guide, how quickly they’ll abandon them when they cease to be politically convenient – but don’t try to sell us that one side’s more guilty of it than the other.
You’ll look just as ridiculous as they do.