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MUD PIES

In Politics, Slush Happens

Short of getting sued, there is probably nothing more mortifying for an Australian journalist, or at least one who takes his or her professional reputation seriously, than an unfavourable mention on the ABC Media Watch program.

I speak from experience. I’ve never been successfully sued, but I did once suffer a spray on Media Watch.

It was humiliating, notwithstanding the fact that it was a relatively light touch up. I was criticised not for getting anything wrong, but for restating facts which were correct. I, and the Sydney Morning Herald, for which I then worked, were bagged for allegedly recycling old news.

I still think the story was legitimate, in that it quoted from a primary source — one Tony Abbott — a series of admissions of facts which had previously been reported more obliquely. And frankly it gripes me personally because a certain other story which has been recycled and recycled and re-recycled for decades has been getting a lot of coverage lately. You know the one.

The story for which Media Watch criticised me ran on August 26, 2003. The headline was “Abbott Set up Slush Fund to Ruin Hanson”. In the interview which led to the story, Abbott, then the Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard Government, confirmed the fund he set up, called (not at all ironically) Australians for Honest Politics, had raised about $100,000 from anonymous donors to pay for legal actions against Pauline Hanson and her party, One Nation.

Abbott further confirmed he had organised a separate "donor" to support a One Nation dissident, Terry Sharples, in seeking an injunction to block One Nation from receiving public electoral funds.

Mr Abbott said the money was promised to cover Mr Sharples if the case failed and costs were awarded against him. Abbott acknowledged he’d organised a team of lawyers who would represent Mr Sharples without charge, and then a second team after Mr Sharples sacked the first.

To quote further from that story: “Mr Abbott also acknowledged that he had at one time instructed his lawyers to offer Mr Sharples $10,000 of his own money if he would stop pursuing him for money to cover his huge court costs.

“He said his $10,000 offer to Mr Sharples was made in light of a disputed agreement between them that Mr Sharples would be covered by an open-ended indemnity for the costs of action against Hanson and One Nation.”

Abbott insisted the whole thing was done at his own initiative, and that neither John Howard nor anyone else in the government had been involved.

Said Abbott in our interview: “There was myself and two other trustees. We raised ... it may not have been $100,000 but it was certainly close to $100,000 and the job of Australians For Honest Politics was to fund court cases against One Nation.”

He said most of the money had been spent trying, unsuccessfully, to get another One Nation defector, Hanson's former private secretary Barbara Hazelton, to take legal action to stop the payment of $470,000 in public election funding, following the failure of similar action by Mr Sharples.

There was more to the story. You get the drift, though. And the irony, too, given that Abbott — who set up his slush fund 14 years ago — is now leading the call for the removal of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her role in setting up a slush fund 20 years ago.

<p>AAP Image/Alan Porritt</p>

AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Thursday's Question Time, the last of the year, fending off calls for her resignation over the AWU Slush Fund affair.

He finally had the guts to have a go himself on Thursday, the final sitting day of the year, instead of running the campaign through various surrogates, primarily his deputy, Julie Bishop. But he was no more effective than they have been over the past week.

But let’s get on with our comparison of the Abbott and Gillard slush funds.

There are, of course, differences: Gillard’s involvement was only as a lawyer who handled the legal work entailed in setting up the AWU fund. She did not control its accounts, she was not a trustee, she had no involvement, so far as anyone can show, in the disbursement of the funds and did not receive any benefit from them.

Abbott on the other hand, was a trustee and did determine how the money in his fund was spent. So his role was more analogous to that of Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt.

That is not to say there was anything fraudulent in Abbott’s case. What it says is that when factional warfare breaks out in political organisations, legal skullduggery takes place.

Abbott’s actions 14 years ago were a manifestation of such internecine nastiness. Let us not forget that Pauline Hanson was a creation of the Liberal Party, which selected her as its candidate for the seat of Oxley in Queensland. Abbott himself was even more deeply involved; he employed the man who would later become Hanson’s Svengali, the egregious David Oldfield. (Just another of those interesting personal associations which mark Abbott’s career, like BA Santamaria, George Pell, Cory Bernardi, et al.)

Then of course the Liberal Party and Abbott got rid of Hanson and Oldfield, but adopted much of the substance of One Nation’s distasteful policies on race issues. Then they set up a slush fund to try to ruin Hanson.

To the extent Gillard is guilty of anything – at least on the evidence to date – she is guilty of playing politics in a similar, if less personally involved way.

There was internecine war in the AWU and she, a Labor-aligned lawyer, gave legal help to one faction.

Was it sneaky? Yes. Was she dealing with dodgy characters? Yes. Does the affair give us an insight into the unedifying world of hardball politics. Yes.

Does it disqualify Julia Gillard from being PM? No.

Or, if you think it does, you should also think, by extension, that Tony Abbott is unfit to replace her.

But let’s be realistic here. In politics, slush happens.

And in both the Abbott and Gillard cases it happened a long time ago.

Surely what matters is their respective plans for the future.

Which is why the only salient part of Thursday’s last Question Time for the political year — dominated yet again by the Opposition’s carping on about the AWU matter — was Gillard’s last answer.

That was the one in which she swatted away the allegations one last time, and set about recounting what this government had done in a practical sense, and what it was still working towards.

She ticked off the positives: raising the tax-free threshold, initiatives on dental care, mental health care, the national disability insurance scheme, implementing school funding reform, and carbon pricing, among others.

And then she shut Question Time down, before Abbott could say another thing. Not that he would have had anything to say — of a positive nature at least.

60 comments on this story
by Marian Rumens

I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive but the idea of the Leader of the Opposition accusing The Prime Minister of being involved in a crime is just unbelievable. I haven't heard much from the media about this but to me, it's such an incredibly stupid thing to do I'm lost for words. The accusation was based on a newspaper article that was incorrect and has since been corrected after the Prime Minister pointed out the inaccuracies. This is not just a throwaway insult. This is an accusation of illegality.

November 29, 2012 @ 8:06pm
by rhm

Thanks for the history lesson. Part of the probem i see with the modern day Canberra Gallery is that too many of them are too young to remember what went on five years ago, let alone 10. Ever seen a White House press conference? the room is full of veteran reporters who remember where the skeletons were buried and who buried them and why they needed to be buried.

November 29, 2012 @ 9:58pm
by Richard

Great to have a journalist who tells it like it is. Many thanks for reminding us of this story and the actions of The Abbott. As Gillard said of The Abbott - fear has failed to put him into the Prime Ministership and now he is seeking, with The Bishop, to have smear allow him to make the transition. Surely no God would allow this eclesiastical pairing to ever be in the position of leading the Australian nation.

November 29, 2012 @ 11:55pm
by Graham

I have read that the other trustee's and donors identities have never been revealed following a verbal ruling given to Abbott at the time by the AEC its unfortunate the blanks have not yet been filled in by what is a media that generally doesn't appear to do its homework.

November 30, 2012 @ 12:27am
by Patrick Hamilton

Great story Mike Seccombe ..... someone who can actually cut through the BS .

November 30, 2012 @ 2:53am
by Cuppa

Pyne and Abbott were on the media accusing the Prime Minister of criminality. Media outlets should blackban these characters until such time as they provide the evidence to substantiate their extraordinary accusations. ..No evidence, then they shouldn't get to be published or appear in the media.

Abbott was given 15 minutes in Question Time to do this, and all he could come up with was, Conduct unbecoming of a future PM. What a joke these muck-throwing, policy-averse people are!

Thanks for reminding us of the episode of Abbott's own slush fund, Mike Secombe. There are several skeletons in his past which the right-wing media (read: all the mainstream media) overlook in their pursuit of regime change.

It's not regime change that this country needs; it's media change. Our democracy is being whiteanted by the situation of all the mainstream media huddled together at one end (the far right) of the political spectrum.

November 30, 2012 @ 3:38am
by sandy

Apparently stories about Abbott's 'Australians for honest politics' slush fund are much more interesting than the current furore that the Libs are fanning over 20 year old A.W .U issue. Grateful for you and Margot Kingston coming out and reminding people just how hypocritical Abbott is being on this issue. Thank goodness for the new media, because the old media is not up to the job!

November 30, 2012 @ 5:09am
by Michael

"He [Abbott] finally had the guts to have a go himself on Thursday, the final sitting day of the year, instead of running the campaign through various surrogates, primarily his deputy, Julie Bishop."

This is incorrect. Julia Gillard called him out, he had nowhere to hide. But, boy, did he look like he wanted somewhere, anywhere.

November 30, 2012 @ 8:14am
by Michael Jongen

No Marian, You are not being sensitive, it is symptomatic of a breakdown in civility and respect for institutions and it is upsetting behaviour

November 30, 2012 @ 9:01am
by Jean Hart

The thing that has struck me watching this charade over the past weeks is the sheer hatred for the PM displayed by the opposition together with elements of the MSM who have lost all objectivity and decency with their actions. I think Abbott is so consumed by hatred because he has been thwarted in his efforts to overhrow the government, and yes, there is an element of mysanthropy in it as well. He is so frustrated that he has unwisely taken up this dishonest campaign as a substitute for putting forward policies that he can be judged on.

November 30, 2012 @ 11:46am
by Graeme

Mike! Get Chris Uhlman ABC 7-30(and any other media contact) to air this Abbott hypocracy next week.
You'd be lucky but you can always reprise the matter and cite the defaulters.

Good stuff! All hail The Global Mail!

Thanks. Tell it as it is.

November 30, 2012 @ 12:15pm
by Andrew

Good luck with that one Graeme! Have a read of Chris Uhlmann's whitewash letter defending Tony in the Quarterly Essay. Impartiality isn't his strong suit.

November 30, 2012 @ 1:12pm
by Ted

Excellent article, I'd like to hear more about 'Australians for honest politics'

November 30, 2012 @ 1:14pm
by Jean

Thanks for the reminder, Mike. And talking about the media, where is the praise today for the PM's incredible resilience and inspiring performances in Question Times this week?

November 30, 2012 @ 1:31pm
by Ibbot

I agree, great article, but still using the imprecise & confusing language that is such a feature of this issue. The Prime Minister had nothing to do with setting up a fund. She gave advice and perhaps minor assistance in the incorporation of an association. The association opened a bank account which allegedly was used in a fraudulent manner. The Prime Minister had nothing to do with the operations of the association or the bank account. This is all smear, pure & simple, facilitated by the repeated. misleading, linkage of the words "Prime Minister" & "fund" in the same sentence.

November 30, 2012 @ 2:39pm
by Bryan

Forgive me, but I can't see why you're referring to Tony Abbott's trust as a "slush fund". The dictionary definition of "slush fund" is money used for illicit or corrupt political purposes. Is there a suggestion of wrongdoing by Tony Abbott? Have I missed something?

Conversely, the reason we're referring to the association which Julia Gillard helped set up as a "slush fund" is because that's how she described it herself in 1995. Presumably she had her reasons. Regards.

November 30, 2012 @ 3:13pm
by D L-Sarvia

tks for that! In the end it is confusing and in my great ignorance I somewhat feel as if it might be a smoke screen for something really important that should be on the agenda and that the opposition really want to avoid at all cost...another pre Christmas hidden paper ???

November 30, 2012 @ 3:45pm
by Mike Seccombe

I see some of you would like more detail on the Abbott slush fund. I recommend this piece: http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/tony-abbott-and-his-slushy-question-of-character/

November 30, 2012 @ 4:17pm
by margo kingston

Secco, what is the link to your crucial scoop of which set the groundwork for showing he misled the AEC? The full text of his misleading and deceptive letter to the AEC appears in 'AEC pulls up its socks, starts serving the people' at http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/21852/20040221-0000/www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/04/1062548971030.html.

Secco's 2003 piece going deeper in the secret donation mess exposed by Abbott's slush find is called 'Tricks of the Trade': http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/21852/20040221-0000/smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/29/10620506725520782.html?from=storyrhs

November 30, 2012 @ 5:46pm
by Markie

"…He finally had the guts to have a go himself on Thursday…"

Only when he was thrown a wedgie by Julia Gillard…

November 30, 2012 @ 5:53pm
by Bryan

Not surprisingly, I'm against criminality. The mounting evidence against Julia Gillard relating to her actions as a lawyer appears at the very least to warrant the attention of the authorities, to see justice done and find her and anyone else involved innocent or guilty. Her non-answers and her behaviour in parliament do not inspire confidence, since if she is innocent, she could shut this down at once by spelling out the truth chapter and verse. The current investigation by Victoria Police and the interest of the West Australian Police Fraud Squad may well not be enough: a Royal Commission would be a good idea. Equally, if there are allegations of criminality against Tony Abbott, or anyone else in the public eye, they should be vigorously pursued. Isn't that what every concerned citizen would expect at the very least?

November 30, 2012 @ 6:05pm
by jay buoy

Abbott in his 15 minute cameo managed to look like a man attempting brain surgery with boxing gloves on ...

November 30, 2012 @ 6:12pm
by Graham

One of Abbotts cohorts in his slush fund to silence Pauline Hanson & One Nation stated that while he just signed the cheques Tony had a apocalyptic view that Hanson represented the end of the world as he knew it and had to be silenced.Now thats odd maybe its not women but redheads he wasn't to keen on Kerry O'Brien either.

November 30, 2012 @ 8:58pm
by Bon

"But let’s be realistic here. In politics, slush happens."
Slush is life you might say...
Global Mail you should be a national agenda for our nation of plebeians fat or thin.

November 30, 2012 @ 9:51pm
by Whatismore

You might have been embarrassed by Media Watch once but these days it's the ABC that should be looking at itself and hanging its head in shame for its low level of reporting. About time they looked in the mirror. The SMH was a quality newspaper in those days. Not anymore. The former readers of the SMH are turning to quality online journals to get the stories.

December 1, 2012 @ 1:08am
by mike seccombe

By Mike Seccombe
Markie and Michael, you suggest I was in error to say Abbot "finally had the guts to have a go himself on Thursday," on the basis that Gillard called him out. In fact, he had spoken on the subject earlier in the day, which is where he really got himself into trouble, by suggesting illegality, outside the Parliament. So, while Gillard "called him out" in Parliament, he had already broken his silence, and put his foot in his mouth.

December 1, 2012 @ 1:19am
by Adam

Both these leaders need to go away on very very long holidays.....maybe to where they came from.......and not come back. Both the major parties have serious credibility problems, and they must surely recognise that. But maybe they don't, strangely enough.
I for one will be looking to voting for a decent independent. I'm sure they're around.

December 1, 2012 @ 7:43am
by excalibur

Abbott & Pell have far more in common than just religon, one can only hope unless there is a change of leadership then Australians will see see him as a likely leader as the Americans with Romney

December 1, 2012 @ 8:24am
by sully

i am tired of the a.b.c. and print media saying both sides have to stop slinging mud.
one side is slinging mud, they started it with the murdoch press and what was labor and the p.m. supposed to do, say nothing, not defend herself and take the accussations on the chin so to speak.
shame on abbott and the mad eyed julie bishop.
the libs have slept with dogs so long they now sleep with the dog's fleas, as the dogs have all gone outside to relieve themselves.

December 1, 2012 @ 8:46am
by Richard Pennycuick

Bryan, what EVIDENCE (as distinct from desperately-concocted rumour) do you refer to, and by what criterion is it mounting? The only people who believe that the PM has done anything untoward in the matter is the Liberal Party, and all they are doing is trying to create the perception that she has "questions to answer". She has held press conferences at which journalists have asked every question they could, including some from The Australian which has also been avidly prosecuting the case. Julie Bishop and Abbott wasted every question time for the past week asking questions which were answered. If you have some evidence, and I stress evidence, then you should direct it to the appropriate place. Even putting it in a further comment would be useful. Otherwise...

December 1, 2012 @ 8:55am
by Norman

Seccombe is nuts. There is absolutely no legal or moral equivalence between the so-called 'slush' fund which he claims Abbott set up (even if he did) and the slush fund which Gillard admits to have established for her former, crooked AWU sidekick and his crooked mate. Even a pea-brained dod could see that, but apparently not Seccombe, in his odd, little parallel universe. More than $1 million in today's terms was chiselled from companies wanting industrial peace and went to personal use. I could go on, but why bother? Like I said, Seccombe is nuts. Plainly nuts. This article, above all else, proves it.

December 1, 2012 @ 8:59am
by Lyn Gain

Couldln't agree more Ibbett.

December 1, 2012 @ 9:39am
by Brian Mitchell

This Press Gallery should be ashamed of the way it has allowed an issue of minor, passing interest to become the dominant political news, and particularly when there are so many other very big issues that could be reported on and analysed. The Opposition -- which of course must include The Australian newspaper -- have treated the rest of the Gallery like trained monkeys. It's been shameful conduct that brings the craft into further disrepute.

December 1, 2012 @ 9:58am
by gabrianga

She ticked off the positives: raising the tax-free threshold, initiatives on dental care, mental health care, the national disability insurance scheme, implementing school funding reform, and carbon pricing, among others.

Not once even mentioning where the money for these "ideas" would come from.But then that has never been important to Gillard or the "useful idiots" and brain dead who wallow in her words.

Another "balanced" piece from "Sicco"

December 1, 2012 @ 10:43am
by Ron Docherty

As a retired union official, may I say that it is common practice and not illegal for a group of officials to set up a fund, totally divorced from Union funds, to cover election costs in the event of a challenge, as members funds, quite rightly, cannot be used for election purposes. In my own case, this was funded by out of pay deductions by the officials involved into a bank account totally separate from the Union...all legal

December 1, 2012 @ 11:03am
by Mundo

Bryan! Quick, release the 'evidence' which has mounted. Hurry! So many have been looking for it for so long! Get yourself down to the cop shop this instant. Do you need a trolley? A Truck? Ute, perhaps? I'm happy to lend a hand loading the evidence onto whatever mode of transportation you think appropriate or necessary.
Well done Bryan those of interested in truth, justice and the coalition support you!
Into the breach Bryan we're right behind you!

December 1, 2012 @ 11:36am
by Bernadette

Sadly, all too often Abbott does only break his silence to put his foot in his mouth. Or to remove one foot & replace it with the other. The one thing that bothers me in all the reporting of AWU is the assertion PM set up a slush fund. She gave advice on the establishment of an association. The application to register the association wasn't even submitted by her, but by Mr Blewitt. Any accounts were then set up by Blewitt and/or Wilson. In reality, there has been no evidence to refute her earlier statment that she played a 'minor role' in establishing the association, despite oppositions claims. All that aside, she certainly didn't establish a slush fund intent on destroying someone or their career. Abbott then feigned sympathy for Hanson's jail term. How Mr Abbott can claim any sort of superior character or morals is completely mind boggling. But, then again this is the same man who claimed the 'carbon tax' would destroy our economy, lose jobs, be wrecking ball, a cobra stike, a python squeeze. The man who once said 'the best way to price carbon was with a simple tax'. Well this time he has met a cookie that wont crumble and gee, doesn't she make him mad!

December 1, 2012 @ 11:56am
by Rob Luxford

No one seems to factor into this non story some truly base grade common sense.

"Missing or empty files" yeah, seventeen years ago, just like my tax records of seventeen years ago, someone threw out the trash.

"Didn't open a case file" Yeah, ever asked a friend in a profession for friendly advice? They don't open a case file because than you need to charge for every 7 minutes. Try charging your lover for a conversation. See how that works out for you. So maybe Slater and Gordon missed out on some billable time, oh the travesty!!

In professional circles, countless hours of time and advice is provided freely as part of the bigger picture of on-going account management. Advice on a setting up an association – sure, no problem.

So then some paperwork was done and it all appears to be… wait for it… … … accurate!

Everything else is pure conjecture about motives for which NO ONE has any proof and NO WAY of proving them after countless man hours of investigation. It's an old dead story and if this is the worst, most pressing, accusation that can be made against Julia Gillard from her entire career then I see it as a very clear message that our PM has conducted herself with integrity for a very long time.

December 1, 2012 @ 12:48pm
by Lyn Gain

Wow, I’m in 7th heaven. I only just subscribed to Global Mail and this article was the first one I read. And I agree with 90% of the comments, unlike with most other supposedly progressive online news sites. And as a bonus, there is wit – loved Graham’s comment about redheads, and Bon’s ‘slush is life’. The comments of Sully, Brian Mitchell, Ron Docherty, Bernadette and Rob Luxford cut so clearly through the media bullshit – it almost sounds like me holding forth to my husband about each new SMH article and 7.30 Report so called ‘news’ item. Long live Global Mail.

December 1, 2012 @ 2:16pm
by Lee

Too true Mike, and now the opposition want to continue the campaign at the cost of the public purse - a Judicial Inquiry. Although Tony Abbott has never made the mistake of overestimating the intelligence of the average voter, this is far too insulting surely.

All we've learnt so far is that Julia Gillard is guilty of once being a solicitor-with poor taste in boyfriends.

Does anyone believe that Tony Abbott is of any better character than Julia Gillard? I think not.

December 1, 2012 @ 2:40pm
by Lesley Ann Porter

So there you go! that was new information to digest for myself at least.

I did not know that Tony Abbott was involved in such a way as to set up a fund - sorry- slush fund to assist in the demise of another person - Pauline Hansen. Not my cup of tea but there were those who followed her, she obviously didn't have the correct legal advice in her attempt to be on the political scene.

Reading your story I am shocked really that Abbott can continue in his trashing of the Prime Minister as he actually used his slushes to hurt another person who was obviously being set up by none other that his own people.

Thank you for enlightening me and now to get rid of the Newman dude as well. We all make mistakes but this bloke has gutted some of the institutions that have been built up by the hard work of communities not by tax payers money but by the good will of people who work hard and donate their time and knowledge to assist young people and the disabled, and that is not really healthy for our communities here in Queensland.

December 1, 2012 @ 2:51pm
by jane bushby

May we start on 'smearing' the bridesmaid Bishop now? Crikey has the beginning of an interesting legal past of hers too...

December 1, 2012 @ 6:33pm
by Geoff Pearson

Thank you mike you put into word what I have been trying to say on twitter for months I must say this I would rather a PM who had bad judgdment than some one low enough to destroy lives and take away our right to vote I did not like hanson but she has a Party that people voted for it turned out she was Innocent Abbott did two things here that people dont seem to realise !st he was involved in getting 2 Innocent People jailed that is a dispicable act 2nd he took apon himself to destroy a politicle party that people were voting for those people had their Demacratic right taken away from them by Abbott

December 1, 2012 @ 6:52pm
by Antonia Hildebrand

And how many members of the opposition were in parliament to see the Insurance Disability Scheme introduced? Six. The rest couldn't be bothered. If it's not a smear and a pseudo scandal aimed at someone on the Labor side or at Gillard herself they're just not interested. And where are their policies? I know they have them hidden somewhere in a drawer, but they would much rather talk about some tosh that happened twenty years ago than discuss a single one of their policies. And I know why. It's a disgraceful way to treat the voters.

December 1, 2012 @ 7:26pm
by Doug Evans

@Noman.

Michelle Grattan has tackled this story in the West Australian. http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-has-his-own-slushy-history-20121201-2anjy.html
Looks like she's a bit 'nuts' as well. Or maybe there is something here that you don't understand. The relative size of the amounts of money involved is not the issue. In many respects there is clear equivalence between these cases. Further, there seems at least to be some evidence against Abbott, which there plainly is not against Gillard. I recommend a cup of tea, a nice snooze and a bit of thought on a clear head. There is enough in this to destroy Abbott's credibility. It just depends on whether the MSM take it up. My bet is they won't.

December 1, 2012 @ 11:05pm
by Rob Luxford

Thank you for your kind comments Lyn. My first here and I think the Global Mail could do well to organise dinners where thinkers could get together over good food and wine. Much more fun than typing.

December 2, 2012 @ 7:32pm
by William Kierath

I have been a relatively constant follower of the Drum and in general enjoy the comments more than the articles. The problem is twofold with the Drum:
First the article author never makes any comment to clear up whatever the confusion may be as distinct from any petulant reply to something they may dislike.
Second, the whole thing becomes too intense as if there is a brawl of fighting rats.
Maybe this is because of the high participation rate?
What I like with the Global Mail is the Author appears to make reasonable comments in reply to elucidate some issue and I see no reason why this is not a good thing?
My position and possibly a problem is I come from a life of Architecture and Planning and the overwhelming issues for me are Social Justice and equity.
What I find inherently distasteful with Abbott is he has never appeared to have espoused anything other than spite and antagonism and spent an inordinate amount of time on opportunism. I don’t think I would like someone like that to represent me as the Prime Minister.
This article to my way of thinking is what I can understand and absorb.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:02pm
by Deb Campbell

Great piece Mike well done but why or why is no one asking these questions in what passes today for the mainstream media do you think? For me it is the free pass Mr Abbott gets from The Australian which then somehow sets the national media agenda. Why is this allowed to be the case? Gutlessness on behalf all the other alleged players? Tony Windsor had some thought on this at a Victorian Women's Trust discussion last Friday in Melbourne. I wonder if he is right?

December 3, 2012 @ 11:33am
by Johnno

re Sandy's comment: "Thank goodness for the new media, because the old media is not up to the job!"

The problem with the old media is that they are now obsessed with selling papers or getting people to sit on their websites and click on the ads. So they have to keep running this story. Mike Seccombe is only responsible for his own integrity now and keeping the Global Mail out of legal and ethical trouble. He can tell it like it is.

December 3, 2012 @ 11:50am
by Elaine Rees

Good work Mike. Best writing is at the end of the story, especially liked "In Politics slush happens. "

December 3, 2012 @ 11:56am
by Fiona Williams

Norman, Seccombe isn't nuts - far from it. He just did what all journalists *used* to do, which is research. He's well aware that any anomalies will be picked up and thrown in his face; the man is not Teflon. Perhaps you need to remove the blinkers and take a harder look at the issue in question.

I do feel that Abbott is the worst possible thing for this country. The man has no clear policy, no concise argument other than "computer says no". His unwillingness to bend to perfectly logical policy maneuvres is unsettling to say the least.

Finally, at Rob Luxford: I think a Global Mail dinner and discussion would be fabulous! We could have one in each capital city, it would be brilliant!

December 3, 2012 @ 6:12pm
by William Kierath

Having posted my previous comment I realised what a dill I have been? The reason why the dog fighting takes place on the Drum is because you can comment on comments. at the spot of the person commenting. This leads to a free for all on the side and personal sniping at other comments.
Please don't allow it on the Global mail !
Which of course you don't.

December 3, 2012 @ 8:37pm
by Andy Stein

I think Unioin members would be a little concerned about their membership money and the slush fund Gillard helped set up than concerned about Abbott and his slush fund to get Hanson somehow.

December 4, 2012 @ 3:48pm
by Victor

Hmmm linking Abbott to the PM via slush fund. Can't find anything noble in the PM's slush fund, find the characters she was mixing with exemplary with high moral and ethical standards, and the cause, well 'line my pockets with gold'. Why even enough to go a bury in the backyard. Really, and the 7.30 interview with the PM's former boyfriend was so illuminating and left many interesting questions unanswered. Of course not quite as experienced as your star performers on 7.30 like the host and the political reporter.

and Abbott's character, well his background speaks for itself, no not his Catholicism but his other character forming activities which are quickly dammed as being for political purposes. He places himself in the community, has a family and is physically fit, his endorphins serve him well!!!!!

December 4, 2012 @ 4:26pm
by Karl

Well Victor none of those qualities make him a good PM. In regards to to the current PM you also refer to "many interesting questions unanswered" . You sound like a Liberal Voter. Unable to says what these questions are. Abbott had only one thing in mind. That is to completely destroy a person who had a different political opinion.

December 4, 2012 @ 5:57pm
by Ron Green

I am 81 years old, but must make a comment, Abbott would be the king of slush funds, I feel that he would not be a prime minister, he would be a strutting dictator.

December 7, 2012 @ 9:48pm
by Chris

Tony Abbott was a sworn MP.If (?) he did tell the AEC that he had consulted a lawyer prior to collecting funds ..only later to state that he hadn't consulted a Lawyer until after receiving the AEC 's letter then I as a voter feel that is quite serious. I very much doubt that I (as a mere member of the public and a voter) could lie to the AEC and get away with it .It wouldn't try ,even if I thought I could get away with it.It would be IMO dishonest and criminal.

December 14, 2012 @ 10:30am
Show previous 57 comments
by shane watt

I am sorry I voted for 'Can Do' , now ,but I sure hated Her. I'm sure not going to feel the same after fed election. Bad luck Slugger !!! It will be a measure of Liberal arrogance if he is still leader then.

January 19, 2013 @ 4:09pm
by Lola M de Llano

Shane who do you hate? Julia Guillard?? YOu have a very misguided hatred here....The one YOU and all of us should be disliking is a man who perverts teh course of justice and takes advice from a Cardinal often mentioned as a protector of pedophiles. Get your priorities and your hatreds right!

April 17, 2013 @ 6:16pm
by buffmcmenis

Thank you for re-iterating the facts behind both actions. I am of the opinion that the two cases cannot be held as the same. Similar, perhaps in some minute detailing but not the same. Abbott had method control, intentions to harm, an obscene amount of money at his disposal to do so, personal funds included (which was not relevant in the AWU case). Gillard may have been naive but Abbot was a total (to use a previously spoken word from a great hero of mine) SLEAZEBAG! He is NOT fit to be the Prime Minister of Australia .. he cannot be trusted.

April 17, 2013 @ 6:30pm
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