Australian federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty (pronounced "Kelty") must be one of the more controversial figures in the Australian public service. He demands media blackouts and stumbles through poorly handled terrorism trials, yet he was on the right side of one of the two reasons why I feel disbelieving contempt verging on apopleptic rage for former Prime Minster of The White Picket Fence, John Howard.
The occasion was near the start of Australia's involvement on the absurdly not-even-wrong-ly named "War on Terror", when Keelty went on one of the discussion programs on TV to say something along the lines of "Well, if Australia's involvement might make us a target for terrorist activities, that's something that I have to take into account when considering public safety" and he got absolutely pilloried by Little Johnny for being alarmist. Now, as far as I'm concerned, I want the leaders of my federal police force to think "Hmm... Here's a major change in policy which, it has been suggested, might bring with it risks to the citizens of Australia. Let's look at that, shall we?" And when they do so, I stand behind every principle of openness that ever struggled to raise its head in a democracy, and demand that they let the public know that they're considering this and taking appropriate steps.
Strike one against John Howard.
Actually, strike two: strike one was when Little Johnny stormed out of a radio interview back when the GST election loomed, after saying that a question concerning the effect that the GST may have on the street price of Heroin was "I don't think that's a very appropriate question." Fuck you, Johnny. It was a question concerning a possible connection between your economic policy and a highly destructive and massively illegal substance. How is that not appropriate?
And now, this absolutely beautiful comment:
"A drugs educator says Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty would not have made remarks regarding the effectiveness of strategies to curb illegal drug demand under the previous federal government." - Keelty's drug demand comments amazing: educator (ABC News Online)
The synopsis is that Keelty has addressed a conference in which he said that the police can't rest on their laurels and point to statistics, but must find more appropriate and more effective strategies for countering demand for illegal substances.
If anybody is not cheering yet, you probably aren't the right audience for this blog.
The educator in question is Paul Dillon from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, who has spent a fair bit of time on Triple J as a guest over the years, and who was quoted as saying everything but "He wouldn't have dared say something progressive like that when John Howard was in power."
I almost like Mr Keelty. I definitely like Paul Dillon
Link to ABC New Online article; Keelty's drug demand comments amazing: educator