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 Tuesday, August 10, 2004

  AUSTRALIA: Richard Butler, Ex-UNSCOM Head, Forced to Resign as Governor of Tasmania.

Ex-UNSCOM Head, Ex-Governor of Tasmania (Australia)

The arrogance of controversial Tasmanian Governor Richard Butler, who resigned last night, led to his downfall, a Tasmanian Liberal senator said today.

Special Minster of State Eric Abetz said some unfortunate incidents had earned Mr Butler the chastisement of all sides of politics.

"I think there was a touch of arrogance about the man, which did not assist - but look, having said that, they (the incidents) are publicly documented," Senator Abetz told ABC Radio.

Tasmanian Greens Senator Bob Brown welcomed the resignation, saying.

" Mr Butler was just not suited to that job. He just wasn't a man who had time to be opening charity events, to be talking with people, to be engaged in what they were doing, to be listening and concerned about what they were doing, when he had his mind on other things."

Federal Labor MP Harry Quick said Mr Butler's claims of a malicious campaign were a "figment of his imagination". He said,

"Thankfully the whole thing was resolved last night and we can close a sad chapter in our history. I am surprised that it happened so quickly. Paul Lennon (Tasmanian Premier) must have drawn a line in the sand and said 'enough is enough'. I just think he was totally unsuited to the role of governor."

Mr Quick said he believed Mr Butler was pompous and arrogant and treated people with disdain while living in the best piece of real estate in Tasmania and being paid a salary beyond most people's wildest dreams.

"He at no stage showed any real or genuine interest in Tasmania and it became more obvious ... how bored and disinterested he was in the whole process."

Mr Quick called for wider community consultation in appointing Mr Butler's replacement, which is tipped to be Tasmania's chief justice and Lieutenant Governor William Cox.

Read here article by Libby Sutherland

When Tasmania's former premier, the late Jim Bacon, announced Richard Butler as governor last year, he said: "I have no doubt that the people of Tasmania will warm to Richard and his partner Jennifer." He could not have been more wrong.

Last night, not quite a year later - and only two months after Mr Bacon's death from cancer - Mr Butler resigned as Tasmania's 25th governor, claiming a smear campaign had driven him out.

Mr Butler pledged to respect the rules and conventions of vice-regal office and keep his more frank opinions private. Weeks after he was sworn in, however, the premier was forced to defend the governor amid allegations he made a fuss when seeking an upgrade on a honeymoon flight to Vietnam. Internal Singapore Airlines emails obtained by The Mercury newspaper in Hobart alleged Mr Butler and his wife - whom he married the day after being sworn in - wanted cheap seats upgraded "because he is the governor of Tasmania".

Then Mr Butler used his debut Australia Day address to criticise national health care policy and Australia's treatment of refugees. In April, Mr Lennon, the incoming premier, moved to gag him from further political discourse - 24 hours after Mr Butler delivered a speech to a business leaders' lunch. He reportedly told them that the US administration of George Bush was the most "highly nationalistic and self-centred government we have known".

Tasmanian federal Labor MP Harry Quick has been among the Butlers' more vocal critics. He told ABC TV at the weekend,

"Those of us who knew of past excesses by the governor laughed behind our hands when we heard of the appointment. Tasmanians now are realising that this governor is a real embarrassment and the Premier, despite his friendship with the late premier Jim Bacon, has to realise that his experiment is a total failure and the governor has to go."

The Head of the United Nations Special Commission (Unscom) in Iraq is accustomed to being in the hot seat.

Since he replaced Rolf Ekeus on 1 July 1997, as head of the UN weapons inspectors, Richard Butler has been repeatedly criticised by the Iraqi government and media, who consider him "America's man".

One government-controlled newspaper described him as a "mad dog". The 56-year-old Australian diplomat made his reputation as a disarmament negotiator while ambassador to the conference on disarmament in Geneva from 1983 to 1988. "

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Comments 1


Blogger Voltaire said...

I am prejudiced on Butler..I despised his lies on Iraq's WMD's, the supposed exiling of his team of inspectors by Hussein. I wote letters of complaint to him and to the insufferable Koche asking for balanced interviews.

I read this report and am surprised to see his resignation was based on befouling himself for telling the truth!! I don't know anything about the performance he put on if any seeking an upgrade...he is like Koche an insufferable bore....however his statements about the Liberal party and Bush, on the surface of it, accurately represent reality...the Liberal positions on refugees disgraced ordinary Australian, even if we still have the pigsnrting style of Aussie bigot against all races and situations other than his own football team, liquor store and pieshop. Bush is without a doubt the most appalling and unintelligent and devious US president of all time and one who has the empathy of a rusty horseshoe.He has dragged the whole world into extreme energy prices and financial disaster through his obsessed ruination of all the most advanced of all the Middle East countries. Hussein pales into insignificance alongside the genocide of Iraqis by those who mastermind Bush. Butler drawing attention to this sociopath was "out of order"?? I don't think sso. Butler drawing attention to the perverted actions and lies of Howard and hs attorney general ovr refugees, children overboard, inhumane incarceration? I don't think so...and I am far from being anyone's lackey. It sounds to me as though the establishment thought they would reward Butler and shut him up at public expense down in little known Tassie and then found he was too "arrogant" to be shut up...and so paid him a million to go away and shut up...because I certainly haven't heard a peep since 2003.

I've lived through many changes as I have seen Australia deteriorate, clinging like a limpet onto its ANZAC heritage (in which my family also made a significant contribution) as it has become little more than an outpost of American worst practice scenarios and simultaneously politically genuflecting to Israel if you can excuse that religious non-sequiter. This country has become a shadow of what it was during the 1950's and 60's even having the gall to mock, using the stupid term "baby boomers", those who brought this country through to a decent social destroyed through faddishness to laissez-faire US economic theory and the destruction of the underlying value of currency.

So I have to say, Butler, I hated your guts for the lies you told which were designed to encourage the invasion of Iraq, costing nearly 700,000 lives so far apart from the rape pillage mutilation and insanity as the worst war crimes since Poland are perpetrated on Iraq..with Poland's support! I will never forgive you for that but I applaud any effort you made to face off to the Liberal party over the reality of its scumbag policy and cultural cringing to America's worst, most socially, culpable president in history.

Why these articles are demeaning Butler for what seem to be his finally getting his act together worries me. I seek explanations, I can't find them. This looks like political, Howard inspired machiavellianism to me.

Anyone who can inform me better or advise me what Butler said in detail...can write to me at

11:00 AM

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