In his first speech as Foreign Minister in 1996, I seem to remember that the now Lord Downer of Baghdad talked about the value of Australia's consular service (have tried searching Hansard, looks like my memory is faulty, I did find this reference). At the time I thought this a pretty good touch: I was a former consul and if there was one thing that you couldn't get Gareth Evans interested in, it was consular matters. Not sufficiently intellectual, I suppose, but try telling that to a fellow Aussie in trouble in some foreign backwater.
So how does that square with the latest piece of bastardry apparently dished out to David Hicks: only his gaolers can determine his mental state.
Whenever you think it can't get more disgraceful, it does.