Thursday, October 15, 2009

You cannot help a fool

Alexander Downer was Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia from 1996 to 2007.

Alexander Downer calls the head of the Nobel Committee, Torbjørn Jagland, a fool and says it is no surprise that Jagland was the man who decided that Barack Obama should get the 2009 Peace Prize.

SELECTING President Barack Obama for the Peace Prize was a political decision of gross stupidity.

.....So who exactly is on this committee which selects the Nobel Prize for Peace?

There are five Norwegian MPs on the committee, three from the left and two from the right. There is a woman called Sissel Ronbeck, who is a Labour MP. In her earlier years she was the chairman of the Norwegian Workers Youth League. Then there is Ms Agot Valle, of the Socialist Left Party. There is a Conservative and a member of the libertarian Progress Party. And then there's the chairman, the most important of all the members of the committee. He is a man called Thorbjorn Jagland.

Mr Jagland was once prime minister of Norway and became the foreign minister. He is a member of the Norwegian Labour Party.

In 2001, you will recall there was a standoff between the Australian Government and a Norwegian ship, the Tampa. The Tampa had picked up several people who were trying to get to Australia from Indonesia. The Government told the Tampa it had to take the people to Indonesia, that is, back to where they came from. The ship's captain, on instructions from Norway's then government, said it would not. They had to land in Australia.

One cold Canberra night I was snug in bed when my phone rang at 2am. It was foreign minister Jagland. I politely told him it was a little late for me although, no doubt, a pleasant early evening in Oslo. He started shouting. He hardly needed a phone from Norway. He "ordered" me to accept the ship into an Australian port. I politely explained our policy about stopping people smugglers and said the asylum seekers would be safe in Indonesia where they would be processed by the UNHCR. Not good enough, he yelled. The Tampa was going to land them in Australia. I told him it was not. It did not.

This Thorbjorn Jagland was a real party-political player. He was Labour, we were Liberal. He good, we bad. What a surprise; the same man has made the worst decision in Nobel Peace Prize history as he hated George W. Bush and Barack Obama is an African-American. He has done real damage to the institution. You cannot help a fool.

Read more here: Obama should give back Nobel Prize

PS: Most Norwegians agree with Alexander Downer.

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