Has an Australian politician's total ignorance* of a subject ever gotten in the way of his holding forth on it?
Until Monday night's Q&A my guess would've been no.
I'm happy to have been proven wrong.
The topic under discussion was Saudi society/women.
When compere Tony Jones asked ex-Labor leader Mark Latham for his opinion, Latham responded simply:
"I just don't know enough about the society, Tony, to add to the discussion. You are better getting another comment from Lina than from me."
Now in case you think I'm making too much of Latham's achievement here, contrast his admirable restraint with the waffle which followed from motormouth Craig Emerson:
"More broadly I think the progress of women is stuttering progress at best. You know, they strive - they seek the sorts of opportunities that blokes have had for thousands of years, and when they do they often find they're up against resistance, a brick wall. You think of that poor little girl who the Taliban shot in the head because she wanted to go to school. She did go to school and she encouraged other girls to go to school. Now that's an extreme example but that's what, you know, young women can be up against around the world. Another girl was doused with acid because she wanted to have a boyfriend who wasn't designated by her parents or someone else to be the right and just boyfriend. I mean these are basic rights that I think women around the world do not enjoy and I think women and men should back them in and continue making progress because it is not satisfactory."
[*See my 6/2/12 post On Ignorance.]