This, not "Why is the Australian government leaving Hicks to languish at Guantanamo Bay?", is the question which Leigh Sales , writing in today's Australian, thinks David Hicks's supporters should be asking.
She makes the point that the weekend rallies did not attract much support: I'd have to agree with her about the Adelaide one
Reading between her lines, I don't detect many signs of optimism, though her final paragraph is a good summary of why Australians should care more:
I don't doubt that Ms Sales has accurately summed up the government's position at the moment, but I wonder how long Mr Ruddock's pledge of a fair trial will hold up if the foreshadowed proceedings don't get under way soon:
Hicks would likely be charged after January 17, when new regulations for the US military commission expected to try him come into effect, Mr Ruddock said.
"We've sought assurances that there'll be a presumption of innocence, that he will know the evidence that's going to be presented against him, that he will be effectively represented in the military commission process, that there are appeals ... into the civilian court system," he said.
"We are certainly pressing the US and have received certain assurances from them that a fair trial should be possible under the scheme that they've legislated for."[Emphasis added]
This is all pretty vague. What happens if Mr R's requirements for a fair trial aren't met within the time frame? Will he or Mr Howard then ask the Americans to release Hicks, as the British and many other governments have done about their citizens who were incarcerated in Gitmo?