Gillard’s conspiracy to mislead and how a journalist missed her own scoopBy Gavin Atkins Jul 20, 2010 5:32AM UTC
Buried in the latest effort by the ABC’s chief online reporter, Annabel Crabb is a news story of some significance:
In 2004, when Tony Abbott was John Howard’s health minister, his opposite number in Mark Latham’s Opposition was Julia Gillard.
One night, as the 2004 election approached and Ms Gillard ensnared herself in the logistical nooses and coils of health policy…she fired off a despairing text message to a friend, confessing exasperatedly that health was too confusing for her.
Receiving no reply, she idly checked her message some hours later and realised to her horror that she had in fact, by accident, sent the message to Tony Abbott.
So Australia’s Prime Minister, as Labor Health spokesperson, has previously admitted that she is confused by the intricacies of our health system. So what does this teach us? Take it away Annabel:
‘Ms Gillard is not a habitual maker of careless mistakes.”
Oh really? Where were you during the whole Building the Education Revolution thing? I would have thought the conclusion to make is that Gillard might not be competent to manage our health system. Is there, perhaps, a story there? Anyway, Annabel, please go on…
And she could not bear the prospect of Mr Abbott reading aloud her message – perhaps in Question Time – in triumphant demonstration of her unsuitability to assume control of the national health system.
So what did she do? Throw herself on the mercy of the man with whom she had developed a sporting rivalry? Register a polite request that he respect the confidence of an inadvertent disclosure? She did nothing of the sort.
Instead, Ms Gillard and her staff arranged for her to be interviewed by a regional radio station with a small listenership.
During the interview she laughingly confessed to having sent a tongue-in-cheek text messages to her opponent feigning frustration with the minefield of health reform. Nothing more was made of the communique, in parliament or elsewhere.
Ms Gillard had the transcript of her radio interview prepared, lest the allegation ever be made by Mr Abbott that she was unequal to the task of handling the health portfolio.
Had it been raised in parliament, she would musically have read aloud from the transcript, demonstrating that the whole thing was a bit of a lark.”
Let me get this straight. Our current Prime Minister manufactured a media interview so that she could then lie in Parliament that a text she meant to send to a friend was actually sent in jest to Tony Abbott. Misleading Parliament is considered a serious offence in Australian politics, and one for which Gillard herself has never been shy of accusing others.
So what does all of this demonstrate about our current Prime Minister? For me it demonstrates a history as a liar and hypocrite with little respect for parliamentary process. It demonstrates a tendency to use gullible journalists for her own ends. However, for Annabel Crabb it signifies this:
“Ms Gillard has never made any assumptions about the durability of their mutual admiration, as her clinical efforts to defuse the potential text-message clanger demonstrate… Julia Gillard is a better communicator.”
Now, having completely missed her own scoop, Crabb goes on to say:
“You get the feeling that a hideous blunder on either side could prove decisive.”
You mean, a blunder like admitting you don’t understand the health portfolio and then conspiring to lie about it in Parliament?
Given the evidence of this article, I would suggest, Julia Gillard can expect to get away with pretty much anything, and that rather than seeing it as a potentially serious character flaw, at least one taxpayer-fattened journo can be depended upon to not see it as anything more noteworthy than an amusing anecdote.