Ok, a lot of people have been distracted by all the excitement around discovering that our Deputy Prime Minister has been misleading us. I, of course, am referring to the fact that he stayed on in his position even though he admitted that the was doubtful that the High Court would rule in his favour. Malcolm Turnbull assured us that there was no need for him to stand down and if you can’t take the assurance of our PM then what’s the National Energy Guarantee worth… Probably no more than the guarantee about having everyone connected to the NBN by 2016.
Anyway, the High Court decision had everybody talking. Pauline Hanson told us: “I lost a great man in Malcolm Robertson”, which must have been quite upsetting. Particularly for poor Malcolm Roberts standing behind her, who must have been wondering who this RobertSON guy was. However, I’d like to return to Michaelia Cash for a moment.
In the heat of the moment where people are arguing about whether or not she misled Parliament and should therefore resign, or whether the defence that when you are misled, then repeating the incorrect information isn’t misleading anybody is enough, it’s easy to overlook exactly what happened. Of course, she has an ironclad defence because she herself was misled. Imagine you’re buying a car. The salesman tells you that your repayments will be $100 and you sign up. He later tells you that, in fact, head office has misled him and your repayments will actually be $150 a week. I mean, who could have a problem with that?
So the issue is not whether she misled Parliament. The issue is whether she was lying or not. And so we should forget everything else and just examine how events unfolded according to the Cash version of events.
The ROC want the AFP to raid the AWU offices because they are concerned that the AWU has recorded incriminating evidence ten years ago. There is some urgency to do this because there is a concern that they will suddenly decide to destroy this because it has never occured to them before that it would be a good idea – if such evidence exists – to destroy it.
The AFP seek permission from a magistrate to raid the AWU offices.
At this stage, only the ROC, the AFP and the magistrate know of the raid.
Somebody, presumably from the ROC or the AFP alert somebody in the media. I’m presuming that Senator Cash wouldn’t believe it to be the magistrate. I could be wrong, because she grew very upset with the idea that anyone connected with the ROC or the AFP could be politically motivated. Anyway, somebody from this group alerted somebody in the media. It’s unclear whether they alerted one media person or several.
This media person was concerned that nobody in Senator Cash’s office knew about this, so they contacted David De Garis, the senior media adviser there. I don’t know the motivation for this. Perhaps, the media person was concerned that his or her organisation didn’t have enough cameras and they hoped that Mr De Garis would pass the message on so that the story could be viewed from a number of angles. Media people hate being the only organisation to have the news. One thing they all try to avoid is getting what’s called “an exclusive” because it makes them sound so elitist.
David De Garis was so excited by receiving the news that he passed it on to other news outlets, but he didn’t feel any need to share it with anyone in his office. Apparently, he wandered around the office, smiling smugly and saying to himself , “I know something you don’t know”. Think about this in terms of your own workplace. You get a call telling you that something relevant to your organisation will be on the news and what do you immediately do? Tell the people you work with? Of course not. You make sure that it’s an even bigger story by ringing other news outlets.
The next day, Senator Cash is asked if she, or anyone in her office, tipped off the media. She says no. Mr De Garis doesn’t see the need to tell of his phone calls. She gets asked again. She says no. Mr De Garis doesn’t think that this may be a good time to tell her. And again. And again. She becomes quite indignant.
She, and David De Garis, speak to the Prime Minister who asks her – but not David De Garis – if she tipped off the media. She says that she didn’t. Mr De Garis doesn’t get asked and being a polite sort of chap doesn’t like to interrupt the conversation and say, “Oh, about that, it might have been me.”
At the dinner break, after everybody is aware that various people have been telling various other people that it was David De Garis who rang them, he suddenly remembers the events of the previous day and tells that because of a failing memory, he needs to resign.
Senator Cash congratulates him on his failing memory and goes into the Senate to correct the record.
Malcolm Turnbull tells us that she corrected the record, so what’s everyone’s problem?
As one can see, this is all totally plausible and I don’t see how anyone could suggest that there’s the slightest problem with what Senator Cash is asking us to believe. All the negativity is coming from the same sorts of people who are doubting that energy prices will fall after the next election or don’t see the need for the vote on marriage equality to be delayed until well into 2018 in order to work out the legislation to protect religious people and ensure that anti-discrimination laws don’t take away their right to discriminate.