Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has swept into a historical fourth term in office defeating his Labor Party opponent Mark Latham, who conceded defeat late on Election Day, Saturday, October 9, 2004.
The Bali Bombing on the Australian Ballot
A Queensland Labor candidate for Fairfax, Ivan Molloy, found himself a "half-witting" participant in a political side-show act during the just completed elections when his wife declared all the Liberal Party Parliamentarians bore a moral responsibility for the deaths resulting from the Bali terrorist bombing of 2002.
Mrs. Molloy, a state Labor Parliamentarian in her own right, said: "I hold the Liberal sitting members (of parliament) accountable for the bombing in Bali and for the deaths of the Balinese and the deaths of Australians."
A dutiful Mr. Molloy later admitted that while his wife's comments were "provocative," he supported them 100 per cent.
Not unexpectedly, Liberal politicians and a large segment of the Australian public were outraged at Mrs. Molloy's slanderous comments and her husband's sheepish "yes, dear" acquiescence. One political commentator wents as far as to say Mrs. Molloy's comments ranked "as one of the most contemptible and extremist statements ever made by the endorsed candidate of a mainstream political party in Australia."
Arguably showing the same lack of leadership that eventually cost him the Prime Minister's post, Labor leader Mark Latham failed to publicly dis-endorse or distance himself from Mr. and Mrs. Molloy's hurtful accusations of murder leveled against his political opponents. Either Mr. Latham believes Australia's Liberal Party politicians were actually to blame for the unspeakably tragic loss of 202 lives in Bali, or he found it politically expedient during a national election to allow such heinous accusations to stand unchallenged from a member of the political party that he leads.
The Fairfax constituents of Queensland have apparently given Mr. Molloy the "heave ho" with interim results indicating he is heading for a resounding defeat, tallying less than 30% of the vote.
But let's give Mr. Latham and the Molloy's the benefit of the doubt and assume they are people who speak from a basis of truth and conviction. As a result, we wonder had the Australian Federal elections gone otherwise, would Mr. Latham's new Government now be sponsoring a massive retribution and compensation package to the many people, both in Bali and abroad, who suffered as a result of the Bali bombing they sincerely believe was caused by their fellow countrymen?
When we whispered this hypothetical construct to our much loved pet Australian "budgie," the poor dear choked on his seed and promptly fell from his caged perch in shock.
Content to leave Australian politics to the Australians, the overwhelming majority of people who live in Bali could care less than little about the outcome of Australia's national elections.
At the same time, Mrs. Molloy's crude efforts to make political capital from the Bali bombing tragedy was seen by many locally as an insensitive slap on the face of the Balinese and the many others who suffered so greatly from that night of terror.
Believing that the Universe is constantly striving to remain in balance, the Balinese embrace the concept of Karma Phala, a certain knowledge that what comes around, goes around. Thus, from the distance in far away Bali, there are those who think the Molloys, and all those who stood shoulder to shoulder with them politically, may have recently gotten their just desserts.
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