Monday, June 23, 2003

Dante’s inferno goes to new level

If this is more or less true, then only losing Ruddock’s scalp is going to be an absolute best-case scenario for the Libs.

It is hard to imagine an acceptable explanation being given on why the “extra” funds Tan donated have not so far surfaced in AEC records – thus making the donations doubly suspect, from the probity point of view.

As to how wide the blame-net will extend – all I can say is that John Howard might now well be deeply regretting his recent decision to stay on in the job, all so as to hopefully score an Elder Statesman write-up in the annals of history. Laughing stock-cum-pariah is my prediction on what Howard might be best remembered for – an all-beige shonk and Nixon-Lite.

Update 24 June 2003

Was this story – filed by AAP late yesterday morning – too hot to touch, or are the broadsheets waiting for some documentary evidence of Tan’s “extra” donations before running it? Or was the nascent story just yanked anyway by scaredy-cat lawyers? (As Ferguson’s claims were apparently made outside parliament, the media don’t have qualified privilege for reporting/republishing them). If the latter hunch is correct, it is curious that the SMH and News Ltd websites are still posting the AAP wire slug.

Supporting the “too hot to touch” theory (more in the plenary political, than the defamation-law narrow sense), is the Tan story the broadsheets did run with this morning. While undoubtedly newsworthy, it is also notably lightweight, considering its provenance as a conscious counter-attack by the Libs during yesterday’s question-time. The Nicholson cartoon on the front page of today’s The Australian says it all.

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