Various media are quoting government sources as saying Hicks will be home by the end of the year apparently regardless of the outcome of his upcoming trial. This remarkable turnaround is both good news and an indictment on the Howard government.
Howard's initial attitude to Hicks was to declare him guilty by geographical association. He repeatedly declared Hicks a terrorist (Costello too, as recently as yesterday), deserving of his inhumane incarceration, despite Hicks having never been tried. In the last twelve months, Howard's battlers have become increasingly sympathetic to Hicks' plight if not his case, causing Howard to soften his position slightly. Recently, he made the claim that he could have had Hicks bought home at any point if he'd wanted but didn't think it appropriate (despite the fact that the UK did).
Now that he's finally realised Hicks will hurt him at the polls, Howard's trying to minimise the damage by saying he'll be bought home regardless of the verdict in the sham-trial that will soon begin. I bet that won't be until after the election - Hicks presence in Australia as either a free man or as a prisoner would severely damage the Liberals electoral prospects.
6 days ago