Fellow travellers, no doubt you have all heard of these rather distressing revelations about Tasmanian anti-pokies champion Andrew Wilkie during his time at Duntroon. It's reported that he made junior cadets salute the anniversary of Hitler's rise to power as part of some bizarre bastardisation ritual.

Just as Wilkie himself noted, the revelation's timing is very interesting indeed. Without a doubt the story's leaking to the media is part of a well orchestrated smear campaign run by the gambling industry. The fact that the appallingly right wing Horrid Sin has been featuring it also makes any compassionate person doubt its veracity.

But let's assume it is true, and Wilkie did actually do what he's accused of. Then we can unpack the issue, deconstructing some of the discourses involved ...

Not surprisingly, conservatives are having a field day, savouring the revelation that someone who is clearly of the left has been caught idolizing a totalitarian. But they forget that Wilkie was actually a Young Liberal at the time. It actually says more about that fascist organization than anything else. No doubt all Liberal Party members were taught to worship Hitler, and he was merely repeating what went on at meetings.

However, unlike his contemporaries in that revolting organization, who continued with their Nazi ideology and rose up the ranks to become ministers in the HoWARd Reich, and who still remain high up in the current fascist Coalition, he actually renounced his allegiance to the party and all it stands for and eventually became a progressive.

This was quite a metamorphasis, and must have taken considerable courage. It also explains why Wilkie can't actually recall the incident. Being made to carry out such a nauseating act, and having to demand that others follow suit, must have been unbelievably distressing for someone as compassionate as Wilkie so he blocked the recollection of it entirely to maintain his sanity. It's a classic case of repressed memory syndrome.

The fact that journalists are demanding he relive it now is cruel beyond words. Frankly, I think it's quite clear that he is far more a victim in all of this than the junior cadet who refused to obey the order. But no, Wilkie is portrayed as some kind of ogre for trying to sweep the issue under the carpet. Can you believe the injustice?

Speaking of cruel misrepresentation, Brendan Etches, the one making the allegations, had this to say about Wilkie:

"He's a chameleon. He went from being a Young Liberal to celebrity whistleblower to standing for the Greens to an independent when he saw a chance to break into politics.

"But what is he?"

Sound familiar? This despicable allegation has also been levelled at Julia Gillard. Right-wingers have been running with this idea that we have a right to know who the "real" Julia is. That's just so drearily absolutist; so conservative isn't it?

But as we on the left (and particularly the post-modernist left) know only too well, there is no such thing as "reality". There are no universal truths, and everything is contextual. Yet the inflexible right see people who have come to this wise understanding as slippery and unprincipled! I mean, really.

Clearly Wilkie blended into his surroundings not because he lacked character. On the contrary, his transformations show that he has an abundance of it. Being a "chameleon" was actually a good thing (and the fact that the term is being used as an insult is concerning in itself, and quite speciesist - but that's another matter). It allowed him to achieve political power and push for good social outcomes such as lessening the damage caused by gambling in clubs and pubs.

And for that Andrew Wilkie should not only not be criticized - he should be applauded. The fact that he is not is the true scandal in all of this.