Friday 27 January 2012

Why on earth would an adviser be the cause of such chaos

Gillard adviser Tony Hodges resigns after tip-off sparked violent protest
Tony Abbott's statement

Junior adviser to Julia Gillard has resigned after revealing Tony Abbott's presence at an Australia Day function yesterday in a move that sparked a violent protest by Aboriginal activists.

Media adviser Tony Hodges was forced to stand aside after the "error of judgment", the Prime Minister's office confirmed tonight. It said Mr Hodges informed a "stakeholder" of Mr Abbott's attendance at an Australia Day function with Ms Gillard, and the information was subsequently passed on to members of the Aboriginal tent embassy. "During that discussion, the staff member did not in any way suggest or encourage violence or demonstration," a spokesman for Ms Gillard said. "Nevertheless, given the circumstances of yesterday's function at the Lobby Restaurant, this action was an error of judgment. As such, the staff member's resignation has been accepted."

Earlier, radio presenter Ray Hadley reported a staffer to Ms Gillard had rung Aboriginal tent embassy protester Barbara Shaw, or another protester, that Mr Abbott had called for the embassy to be torn down. "Once she was told that, she was also told Mr Abbott was across the road (and) 'maybe you can give them a bit of a liven up'," the 2GB presenter told his audience.

The statement from Ms Gillard's office did not address the allegation that Mr Hodges sought to inform tent embassy activists of Mr Abbott's alleged comments. Mr Abbott earlier declared he'd been "verballed", saying he had not said the tent embassy should be removed.
"I never said that and I don't think that," he said. "I made the point that a lot has happened in 40 years and I think that we have moved on from the issues of 40 years ago which caused the Aboriginal tent embassy to be set up."

Ms Shaw, who told the protesters Mr Abbott wanted the tent embassy disbanded, said she heard of Mr Abbott's comments from "a fly on the wall"."I heard Tony Abbott's name being thrown about and I asked what the hiccup was," Ms Shaw said. "So whoever told me was a member of the general public."

Mr Hodges was a well-regarded member of Ms Gillard's staff who had also worked for former prime minister Kevin Rudd. It took the Prime Minister's office more than six hours to address the allegations.
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1 comment:

  1. Frankly, I thing this entire incident is a pathetic media beat up. The huge photo across the front page of The Cairns Post the other day showed clearly Julia tripping down some stairs when someone standing behind her, stood on her heel. A simple, ordinary accidental occurrence which every one of us has experienced at one time or another. Her bodyguard who was beside her instinctively did, as we all would go, put his arms out to stop her falling. Julia was never being "rescued" from the mob. And the so called "riot" itself?? For heavens sake, there is more excitement at an office christmas party than what was happening there. It's yet another example of poor media coverage.


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