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Journalists in Australia received a 10 page file on a member of John Howard's government claiming that he was gay, that he attended bathhouses, and that he was having male affairs with members of his staff.

No paper published that accused's name, however a few places did accuse the opposition Labor government of trying a smear. But this morning one of the veteran journalists revealed who had given him the file in the first place.

The source was also member of John Howard's Government, who was looking to swing factional numbers his way by removing a left-leaning member of his own party.

In Australia there is an widely agreed upon deal between the media and the Government. Journalists classify any non-illegal actions by politicians outside of the government "private matters" will not publish them. This applies even at the times of greatest interest, such as our current run up to the election.

This, along with Australia being more tolerant of gay members of Parliament then some countries, means that we care less about who they spend their lives with and more about how well they do their job, so this wasn't quite the news story the leaker wanted it to be.

It is looking likely that an internal enemy of this person was watching the recent sideshows in the US and thought that he could stick the knife in and get a similar result in Australia. But at least some of our media still holds themselves to a higher standard and chose to look beyond the initial story to see what the background was.

Accusations fly about 'dirt unit'
While interviewing deputy Labor leader Julia Gillard today about the personal smears tarnishing federal politics, Mr Oakes revealed he, too, had been fed the material about the minister.

And he pointed the finger at the Liberal Party.

"I'm interested in this, you see, because I've been fed the same allegations about this minister, and they were fed to me by a Liberal," Mr Oakes said.

Not all of our media was so nice. The original story and veiled accusations came from Australia's own "Poison Dwarf", Glenn Milne, who spun the story this way in, yes you guessed it, Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd paper

'Gay dirt' blamed on Labor
THE dirt fight between the Federal Government and Opposition is in danger of spinning out of control, with allegations a Coalition Minister regularly visits gay bath houses.

The Government is blaming the Labor Party for circulating a "fact sheet" on the married politician, which alleges he has sexually harassed other males in political circles. It also claims his wife is known within the Liberal Party as a "beard" - a term for someone acting as a cover for a gay man.

If you visit that link, you'll see that by the fifth paragraph the story has already been updated to report that it looks like it was an internal assasination attempt. Yet for some unknown reason, the headline still has not been updated...

Originally posted to oznick on Sun Sep 23, 2007 at 02:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting for gay rights in Australia... (9+ / 0-)

    ... As of the next election, Bob Brown, the leader of the Greens, and Labor's Penny Wong, are both openly gay and will be pushing for reviews of Australia marriage laws.

    Seeing how is looking very likely that Bob Brown will hold the balance of power in the upper house, we may be in for some more strides towards common sense.

  •  Refreshing (2+ / 0-)

    Refreshing to hear about this, in the land of Rupert Murdoch of all places!

  •  Has KKKarl Rove Been Advising Howard? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tony the American Mutt

    This incident has KKKarl's dirty paws all over it. Kudos to the Australian press for outing the Howard side for pedaling this rubbish.

    When is the election?  And, isn't Howard going to be defeated in a landslide?

    Maybe a resounding Howard defeat will serve as a cautionary tale for the GOP elected Reps/Senators who are sticking to W's horrific and failed policies.    

  •  Portland just had a similar situation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exNYinTX, Nellcote, ichibon

    Sam Adams, a very prominent city commissioner and presumed frontrunner for mayor next year in Portland, Ore., was smeared last week.  He's gay, and a major real estate developer who has been publicly speculating about running against Adams said he heard from some anonymous someone that Adams had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.  Rather than tell this to a social worker or a law enforcement officer, he told this to political contacts.  Newspapers investigated and found no evidence, no accuser, and nobody who even believed it.  Rather than deem this unfit for print, an alternative weekly paper ran it, talking about how Adams was doing "damage control" over "persistent rumors," continuing with such empty question-raising for dozens of paragraphs.  After this, other newspapers published what they had learned, making it as clear as could be possible that there was nothing to the story.  Most everyone has pronounced the real estate developer's political career to be dead on arrival.  But that hasn't stopped comment threads from being filled with some of the most vile anti-gay rhetoric imaginable, fueled partly by our local Limbaugh wannabe, Lars Larson.  Others have a "where there's smoke, there's fire" attitude.  It doesn't matter that the real estate developer has now admitted he never even believed the rumor.  Adams' office is now "Sodom and Gomorrah" in the minds of some voters, thanks to this smear.  Fortunately, the vast majority of Portlanders are too fair-minded for this to really be a factor in the race.

    The kicker is that the writer who first published this won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting just two years ago for publishing proof of a decades-old scandal, sat on by our state's largest daily, involving a former governor who had sexually abused a 14-year-old girl over an extended period of time.  The reporter is now being roundly criticized for recklessness in an attempt to relive past glories, including by other reporters.

    For the inside story, see here.  The story from our paper of record is here.

  •  Now that Justice has been exposed for (0+ / 0-)

    pre election investigations which turn out to be nothing after they have influenced the election results, ANY accusations that suddenly appear conveniently against a candidate, especially a Democrat, is going to have a big blow back effect against the conservative opponent.
    They just need to be asked "do you feel you are unable to win on your own merits, and need Rovian tactics to help you?

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