Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Julie Bishop's attack on Julia Gillard's set to continue today.

Three 'lines' are apparent in the way the story's being received and reported . . . 

The first - quite prominent amongst usually very good and reputable journalists such as Malcolm Farr and Jacqueline Maley - seems to be that (a) it was a long time ago, (b) the law is complicated and arcane, and (c) determining the truth and sifting that through a moral framework will be extremely difficult. This response is summarised by Lenore Taylor.

The second (quite possibly) reaction is that of people who dislike or distrust Gillard for other reasons. Quite naturally, they don't need to see the dots joined up . . . because they've already made up their mind. She's guilty as sin. I can't be bothered finding the link but there's plenty of stuff in the Oz like this. 

The third reaction, however, is more sophisticated - and this is where I disagree with Lenore. There are people who have legitimate questions that the PM has not answered. These have to do with ethical behaviour. Yes, it's possible to explain away the fact that (a) she didn't bother to consult with the union about establishing an association that incorporated its name or (b) that she didn't worry about the fact that there were only two nominated office holders rather than the required five or (c) that she thought there was nothing wrong in preforming this work for her boyfriend or (d) that the costs of her work appear to have then been billed to the union and that (e) it was a simple conveyancing matter (the majority of work for which is normally carried out by para-legal staff rather than lawyers, although lawyers have been struck off for not properly examining these contracts as some friends of mine are well aware). Notwithstanding all of these caveats, none of these issues excuse behaviour that appears to have clearly been, in retrospect, unethical, if not necessarily unlawful. 

She was in a relationship with a person who, again in retrospect, appears to have behaved unethically. The question is how does this reflect on her character both then and, more importantly, what does it say about Labor today. And this is where we're back to the thesis of organisational pathology that's put forward in my column. 

1 comment:

  1. Excuse.... ethics and the ALP - aren't they mutually exclusive? Just look at the ICAC inquiry in NSW to see the full import of what a Labor Government can stand for. Julia Gillard's form reamins ousting the sitting Prime Minister then going onto lose the election and remains in office via Oakshott and Windsor. So why should her past history not reflect a similar pattern of conduct ?