In three days the whole Labor Caucus is due in Canberra to break out the white boards and textas and brainstorm some policy ideas for the year, then share a sausage sizzle at The Lodge. The MPs who’ve been summoned would be forgiven for demanding one of the areas up for discussion should be how the Prime Minister intends to turn around what’s been a terrible start to the year.
They’d be well within their rights to say, actually we’re not the problem Prime Minister. In the last week since Julia Gillard’s office set off one of the ugliest events in recent political history, the PM’s operation appears to be in a constant state of SNAFU.
Let’s not relive the Tony Hodges affair, except to say it has not been successfully put to bed by the resignation of the meddling media adviser. Questions still remain about who in Gillard’s office knew what, and when. At best it seems some of her most senior staff kept Gillard in the dark about Hodges’ confession to the fateful phone call overnight and well into the next day.
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The Australia Day event at The Lobby in Canberra has become all about Tony Hodges, Kim Sattler, Barbara Shaw, Michael Anderson, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, the police and a bunch of idiots who saw fit to hijack the day. It wasn’t supposed to be about them.
Our political leaders had gathered at the restaurant to bestow the new National Emergency Medal on 26 Australians who, paid or unpaid, did extraordinary work during the Victorian Bushfires and Queensland floods.
In her speech before the event was hijacked by an appalling set of bad decisions the Prime Minister said: “Today we award these Medals to a group of Australians who inspired us with their courage and service during two of the most devastating summers of natural disaster Australia has ever witnessed: the Victorian bushfires of 2009 and the Queensland floods and cyclone of December 2010 and January 2011.”
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So we now know who is responsible for putting Julia Gillard into the most peril she’s been in since she became Prime Minister - her own office.
A senior member of the Prime Minister’s team has tonight resigned after it emerged he was the one who tipped off an Aboriginal Tent Embassy contact that Tony Abbott was in the Lobby restaurant yesterday - information that led to the Prime Minister being dragged to her car in undignified scenes that are now world news.
Tony Hodges, who was the one trawling the Press Gallery yesterday afternoon trying to sheet home blame for the ugly scenes to the Opposition Leader, is tonight no longer working for the PM. If it wasn’t so disgusting it would be funny. This came a day after a member of senior Cabinet Minister Anthony Albanese’s staff saw fit to send his boss off to the Press Club armed with a raft of fantastic quotes from a Hollywood movie.
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