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Weaponising Senator Kimberley Kitching’s death is vile and distasteful

This week I witnessed the worst character traits of human behaviour play out on my television screen as a Prime Minister in dire straits regarding his, and his party’s, popularity tried to weaponise a death for political gain, assisted by some elements of a partisan media which commenced with an article written by Shari Markson and published in The Australian on Wednesday, 16 March 2022. To my knowledge, Ms Markson has never written a positive word about the ALP, and of course the Murdochracy which owns The Australian has pinned its political colours to the mast supporting the Liberal Party since about 2009. To say the article and Mr Morrison’s behaviour was vile and distasteful is an understatement. Some of you may be feeling inclined to say, “Michael, you’re an ALP member”, which I am, and I am proud of it, but hear me out as this is an important statement I make for the future of our entire democracy, including for the Liberal Party.

We are all aware Senator Kimberley Kitching tragically died of a heart attack on 10 March 2022. It followed the tragic news of Shane Warne’s same cause of death on 4 March 2022. Mr Morrison had already made a major tactical error on Monday, 14 March 2022 when he attacked Anthony Albanese’s weight loss in circumstances whereby we had lost one of our cricket greats and a member of the Australian Senate.

Mr Albanese had properly told the press on Wednesday this week decency demanded people allow the family and friends of the late Senator Kitching to mourn in peace, and the inappropriate article written by Shari Markson which appeared in The Australian newspaper that morning, was a matter he would address with the media after the Senator’s funeral on Monday, 21 March 2022. Ms Markson’s article was distasteful for two reasons.

The first reason was her reference to three ALP Senators being Ms Wong, Ms Gallagher, and Ms Keneally as ‘Mean Girls’, a very disparaging and misogynistic name for a man to call a woman, let alone a female journalist, and the facts which Ms Markson referred to try and support this terrible nomenclature, were historical, including alleged bullying. The second reason the article was distasteful was because Ms Markson was weaponising the late Senator’s death to try and smear the ALP, in circumstances where the latest Newspoll published on the evening of Sunday, 13 March 2022, placed Mr Albanese in this late stage of a Federal Election cycle (by the way, Mr Morrison is currently using our money to campaign before calling an election, rather than actually calling the election which means the Liberal Party’s money may then only be used) in a winning position on the Two Party Preferred poll (55% ALP- 45% LNP), as well as the poll confirming Mr Albanese’s ever increasing popularity whilst Mr Morrison’s personal approval rating is rapidly declining. 60 Minutes Sunday program featuring Mr Albanese attracted far more viewers than the 60 Minutes article with Mr Morrison and his wife, you know the article, it was when Mr Morrison did a terrible injustice to Dragon’s greatest hit rock song ‘April Sun in Cuba’ by playing it out of tune on a ukulele whilst he also sung out of tune.

Well of course a desperate Scott Morrison, already rumoured to be feeling the political heat within his own party to remove him as leader (lets face it, the South Australian branch of the Liberal Party had told Mr Morrison to stay away from the South Australian State Election, such is the dislike for him in that State), could not act decently, he wanted to weaponise the Senator’s death there and then that Wednesday afternoon whilst he was in Perth. I should mention at this juncture, whilst Mr Morrison was making a public appearance with Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan that same day (not McGarron as Mr Morrison had so ignorantly pronounced the Premier’s surname earlier in the day), he was heckled by a passer-by with words I shall not repeat, but words which suggested Mr Morrison is not particularly well liked in Western Australia as well. I objected on Facebook to this distasteful behaviour of Mr Morrison’s on Wednesday evening, as it clearly was not only distasteful, but it was also desperate.

Any matters of internal party interplay which Senator Kitching may have been allegedly exposed to should, as a matter of our Anglo-Irish democratic roots, be dealt with in the decent manner after the funeral, not the appalling manner of the hamburger and fries GOP conduct which has sadly seen American democracy facing such difficulties since Donald Trump decided Clive Palmer was not the only billionaire who should try to enter the political forum.

On Thursday Mr Morrison proved again why he is becoming so disliked, and demonstrating he is so inappropriate to hold the office of Prime Minister, when he misled the Australian public about the history of our unemployment data, only to then try and backtrack in the most embarrassing manner.

Then on Friday morning The Murdochracy were at it again, publishing an article in The Daily Telegraph which had relied on information from Emma Husar. In that article Ms Husar raised allegations of bullying within the culture of the ALP, the only problem is it appeared to be inconsistent with a public letter Ms Husar had issued one year beforehand in which she did not mention the alleged bullying of Ms Wong, Ms Gallagher, and Ms Keneally (accusations which all three Senators have denied in a written statement they published yesterday).

The Costello Cartel of 9 Entertainment then decided to join the bandwagon of distasteful behaviour when the Today Show had its normal Friday political guests of Richard Marles and Peter Dutton. Mr Marles had already told a Murdoch journalist the previous day the line of questioning about Senator Kitching was distasteful. That Friday morning on the Today Show one of the show’s hosts, Allison Langdon, decided she would pursue the distasteful media behaviour by repeatedly questioning Mr Marles in circumstances where he had told her after the first question, he considered it to be inappropriate to pursue that line of questioning when Senator Kitching has not even had her funeral. To make matters worse, Mr Dutton (who has many questions to answer regarding the state of our ADF and the failure to deploy them properly for the floods) said he wanted some answers, now joining Mr Morrison in the terrible weaponising of a tragic death. Mr Dutton also claimed he was Senator Kitching’s friend, a claim which does raise some eyebrows as her close political friend is of course Bill Shorten (because Mr Dutton is such a miserable human he perhaps thinks a person saying hello to him means they’re a friend). The Today Show then had Ms Husar on for fifteen further minutes of distasteful television.

Mr Morrison thumped away in interviews in Western Australia on Friday demanding answers from Mr Albanese, continuing the appalling and distasteful weaponising of the Senator’s death. Mr Morrison even had the temerity to ask where Mr Albanese was – we all know where was at that time, Mr Morrison, campaigning in a state in which your own party told you to stay away from. What is even more intriguing is Mr Morrison is demanding answers from Mr Albanese when Mr Morrison has gone missing in action over accusations about certain behaviour within the Liberal Party, and of course there is his own bullying of Christine Holgate and Julia Baird’s yet to be properly investigated accusations of bullying.

I am not a scientist, so I am not going to speculate on causes of death. However, I am a person who believes in our Anglo-Irish democratic roots, our conduct as citizens within such a democracy, including the way we act when someone has died. Weaponising a death is the worst traits of the GOP, and even the Liberal Party’s Dave Sharma has said this week he fears the Liberal Party is slipping into that abyss of the far-right GOP style of governance and political behaviour. We know the Murdochracy has already been the subject of media shows about their conduct within the American political system, and of course 9 Entertainment is headed up by Mr Costello, the former Liberal treasurer under John Howard.

As I said at the outset of this post, the behaviour this week by Morrison, and now Mr Dutton, as well as their partisan media friends weaponising a death is vile and distasteful. Decent behaviour demands observing the rights of the late Senator Kitching’s family and friends to mourn privately, and with dignity. That is the Australian way of behaving, behaviour which Mr Albanese last Wednesday requested the Federal Government and the media to abide by. Heaven help us as a country if the likes of Mr Morrison’s behaviour becomes the lowbrow norm of political behaviour.


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  1. Anne Byam

    Excellent article … I totally agree with all you have said.

    The LNP are a totally vile bunch, who know no way of being even half way decent.

    Trusting the Aussie people will kick Scummo to the kerb in May.

  2. Harry Lime

    As you well know Michael,the Prime minister is a vile, distasteful,cowardly liar and bully,traits which seem to be becoming the norm in a corrupt and incompetent party.The dire straits the pathological liar finds himself in,self inflicted,is driving him to new lows of desperation and the sooner this human impostor is out of our lives the better off the entire country will be.The nastiness will only worsen after the flogging in Croweater territory.One of the first moves of the incoming Albanese government should be a long overdue correction in media ownership,followed by an Independent Crime and Corruption Commission.No wonder they’re desperate.Watching the rats trying to distance themselves from the wreckage will be heart warming.

  3. Terence Mills

    Katharine Murphy in The Guardian was more balanced than the Newscorp/Sky pile on that Morrison tried to weaponise :

    “If you are reading some of the coverage on the fly, you might gain an impression that Kitching was helpless in the face of arbitrary bitchy hostility – something of a victim.

    I wasn’t a media intimate of the late Victorian senator, but this characterisation doesn’t really capture the person. Kitching, in my observation, was formidable. It’s why she was widely respected. Highly intelligent, charming and shrewd, she was a power player in every sense of that word – an experienced factional operator and a consummate networker, entirely fluent in the blood sport of Victorian Labor politics. To imply otherwise is a disservice to truth. It robs Kitching of agency, and reduces a talented and complex woman to the role of untethered ghost in a history war.”

    My condolences to Ms Kitching’s family.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    It is no wonder that their behaviour is vile and distasteful, as it simply reflects their thoughts and actions, themselves culpable of all that they accuse others of and worse
    talk about desperate

  5. Phil Pryor

    Nobody can play the bullying card without scrutiny about reasons, and the Murdoch media muck machine is totally unscrupulous and devious. Politics is full of give and take, hard talk, stubbornness, every single sentence and minute at times. If one fades and is getting belted, one may try to resort to this defence, but, get up, in, on, or get OUT. The intensity of bullying by Murdoch himself is well known and “accepted” as the way of the dictator.

  6. GL

    Dutton is so detested and unlikeable that if you even looked at him he would consider you a friend because he’s that desperate to be liked.


    If Labor gets in I can’t see them doing anything to rein in Murdoch, let alone Nine/Fairfax and Stokes, because they would be scared of upsetting him and have him unleash on them (which is going to ocurr anyway).

  7. Vivienne Jean Mendham

    Morrison is doing it all again right now (12.30 pm) on ABC national TV. At length. Bastards – no morals, no empathy, no nothing.

  8. Max Gross

    The last gasp as Sideshow Scott “leads” the Libs into oblivion

  9. Harry Lime

    GL,It’s high time the government ran the country,instead of the trash media moguls and the fossil fuel wallahs.Fuck Murdoch,Costellot,Stokes,Greedy Gina,Fat guts Palmer and the rest of the non taxpaying cartel of corporate thieves.Let them scream all they like..change is coming whether they like it or not,and if not now, when?

  10. New England Cocky

    Interesting article, thank you. Uhm … Murdoch and his ”Australian” editorial policy have pursued Labor since 1974 when the Senate called him before the Bar to explain his biased reporting of politics in Australia. Naturally it did not help that Whitlam had refused Murdoch a political appointment, preferably to the US, as a gratitude payment for supporting Whitlam & LABOR in the 1972 elections.

  11. paul walter

    This writer found Terence Mills comments highly compassionate and this only emphasis the chasm that exists between normal/real people and psychopaths. Sad that press and media seem infested by the latter, especially at executive level..

  12. ajogrady

    All the faux hand wringing, forced crocodile tears and belated fake concern from the L/NP, their sycophantic supporters and their media stooges over the unfortunate passing of Kimberly Kitchen reeks of ugly heartless political opportunism and pathetic desperation.
    Coronary heart disease was the leading cause of death for people aged 45–64. Kimberly Kitchen and Shane Warne both passed from natural causes of coronary heart disease at the same age of 52. This puts them both in the middle of the 45 to 64 aged group that coronary heart disease is the principal cause of death. Shane Warne died at the same age 52 and with the same health condition as Kimberly Kitchen. Is the L/NP and their sycophantic stooges in the media going to blame Cricket Australia and his team mates for his death because they had differing opinions? Trying to gain some perceived political advantage or a gotchs story over the death of any politician is pathetic, disgusting and reeks of desperation. What a
    loathsome and reprehensible group of people you lot are. You prove what low life sewer rats and slime infect the L/NP and the media. Where were the media asking for answers and accountability for the over 2000 unnatural deaths of suicides caused by Morrison’s RoboDebt, the suicide of Porters victim or the premature deaths daily in the continuing Aged Care Crisis?

  13. GL

    “Where were the media asking for answers and accountability for the over 2000 unnatural deaths of suicides caused by Morrison’s RoboDebt, the suicide of Porters victim or the premature deaths daily in the continuing Aged Care Crisis?”

    They don’t count because even they and the LNP realise that it’s drawing a very long bow by trying to tie Labor in with it all and, besides, that’s all in the past and easily ignored. Kimberley Kitching’s death, however, a different matter. With the looming election Scummo and Crony Co. Inc. ably supported by The Rupert/9/Fairfax/Stokes media see a chance to get right down in the sewer and use it to distract, infer and just plain lie. Business as usual.

  14. TuffGuy

    We have a fully desperate government that clearly sees the writing on the wall. For a do-nothing government that worships power (they are only in it for the power, nothing else) over anything else, and at any cost, this is just the start. We all thought Scabbott was low and grubby, well IMO Morriscum will now take it all to new lows never seen before. The election has not even been called and we already have weaponising dead people, personal weight attacks and mean girls.
    The one true thing Albo has that nobody else does is a complete lack of skeletons in his closet. The only bullet Morriscum had to fire was about his weight. All the rest will now be aimed at every other Labor member.
    Last year the LNP were almost completely annihialated in WA, beated in a landslide yesterday in SA and we still have the NSW election to come. It may well be TAS is the last remaining LNP state in the country and that just shows the level of toxicity of the LNP.

  15. JudithW

    Terence’s quote from Katherine Murphy says it all.
    To suggest this woman was unable to withstand the rigours of politics is an insult to the memory of her powerful presence in the senate.
    The LNP have plenty of untimely deaths on their watch due to pursuit of robodebts, neglected veterans and abandoned aged care.
    Something about how only virtuous men should cast the first stone comes to mind

  16. wam

    A sad tragedy of preselection pressure. Bullying is such a meaningfulless word but a public investigation will expose the heart of labor’s culture and could easily be scummo’s miracle. The senator lawyer(life of lie) exposed herself to accusations of mistrust and acted inappropriately on many occasions. As evidenced in the commission who found her evidence unreliable and untruthful. In my experience of over 20 years of local government elections, the stress of negotiating during pre-selection, is high enough to affect blood pressure. Her insecurity concerning a winnable position on the ballot paper would have constant and debilitating. This stress invades all levels of interaction and brings abnormal reactions and misunderstandings to the fore thereby exacerbating the fear and increasing the pressure to the heart. The multiple incidents cannot be reduced to a meaningless generic ‘bullying’.
    The major win for Scummo and the morning shows is the subject of the death of a woman is the behaviour of women and the media girls and boys will have a field day.
    As a pessimistic the cynic, Albo is wedged between exposing his party’s method of ‘whips’ and reaction to the incessant accusation of hypocrite.
    An astute journalist could complete the rout of the left by rehashing the diludbansimkims treatment of Rhiannon and SHY.

  17. Florence Howarth

    Albanese gave information that Labor has a mechanism for dealing with such complaints. No one has made any. What was left unsaid by Anthony was open for anyone to put before the body, any concerns they have.

  18. A Commentator

    An allegation of bullying, with some evidence, that would probably meet the standard of the Fair Work Act definition of bullying (look it up please)
    But, the reaction of many is-
    * Blame the media
    * Blame the person experiencing the behaviour for not using “approved” complaints procedure
    * Deny it
    That’s the attitude that allows poor workplace behaviour to continue

  19. Kaye Lee


    Wong said ‘if you had children you might understand why there’s a climate emergency’. She agrees that was an insensitive remark.

    Kitching did not bring this up with Wong but recounted it to journalists. She also spoke to journalists about being ‘excluded’.

    Kitching sent a text to “a friend” saying “Wong has been bad. She would love to never see me again”. That text was published in The Australian.

    Kitching tipped off Linda Reynolds about questions that she may be asked in Senate committee.

    Kitching was excluded from the tactics committee

    Personal opinion:

    If a colleague was speaking to journalists and your opponents about internal party discussions, disagreements, or tactics, would you still confide in them?

    If a man was stood down from a committee, would it be considered due to bullying by mean boys?

    If you very much disagreed with a colleague’s stance on coal and guns and megaphone diplomacy, would voicing that disagreement be considered bullying?

  20. A Commentator

    Did you look up the definition of bullying in the Fair Work Act?
    Take a look and comment in that context.
    * Reverse onus of proof
    * Does no have to be intentional
    * Ostracism is a form of bullying
    * So too are pointed comments

  21. Kaye Lee

    The Fair Work Act does not cover employers and employees not under the national workplace relations system.

    I don’t think leaving someone off a particular committee amounts to ostracising them. I regularly saw Kitching asking questions in Senate hearings on loads of committees and she held various positions.

    Shadow Assistant Minister for Government Accountability from 2.6.2019 to 28.1.2021.
    Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate from 2.6.2019 to 10.3.2022.
    Shadow Assistant Minister for Government Services from 28.1.2021 to 10.3.2022.
    Shadow Assistant Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme from 28.1.2021 to 10.3.2022.

    Considering she was never chosen by the party or the electorate, she seems to have been very much included in her five and a bit years in the job.

  22. A Commentator

    “The Fair Work Act does not cover employers and employees not under the national workplace relations system.”
    The Fair Work Act also does not deal with dead people and that’s known as getting off on a technicality.
    How about you deal with the substantive issue

  23. Stephengb

    We all need to take a chill pill. It is sad that a person dies of heart failure, especially a young as 52, but it is not uncommon.

    My understanding is that work related stress is as common as the existance of work itself, indeed politics is present in every walk of life and in particular politics as a job. Of all stressful situations Federal politics must be the most stressful.

    Now a person in politics needs to have a thick skin because it’s a tough gig,especially if you are a person who divulges information to the opposition you should expect that your disloyalty would at some point be discovered and that you would suffer some indignity.

    I for one would never trust such a person ever again.

    If you live by the sword

  24. Kaye Lee

    “How about you deal with the substantive issue”

    I believe I am doing that.

    The allegation that Ms Kitching was “ostracised” is based on her being excluded from the tactics committee. She was very much included and active in other committees and was a shadow assistant minister in various portfolios.

    Journalists have said that Ms Kitching complained to them directly yet she never used the party complaints process available to her. Linda Reynolds also made clear that Ms Kitching was briefing her. Even if it was one conversation, it must raise doubt about confidentiality.

    Kitching was a union official who was found to have illegally completed testing on behalf of other union officials to gain right of entry permits. Her husband was convicted of damaging and removing Liberal and Greens election posters in Michael Danby’s electorate. He also wrote a blog that dished a lot of questionable dirt. This couple were very much used to the rough and tumble of unions and politics and didn’t always play fair.

    Kitching was vice-president of the party’s Victorian Branch. She was a Melbourne City Councillor in the early 2000s, and was a senior adviser to several ministries in the government of Labor premier Steve Bracks, as well as to John Lenders, the treasurer in the Brumby government. Not a newbie to the stress/machinations of politics and its factions.

    In the 2013 federal election, Kitching made a bid for Labor pre-selection for the Victorian electorates of Lalor and Gellibrand. Her bid was unsuccessful due to opposition from within the party, including from Stephen Conroy – the man whose job she was eventually gifted by Bill Shorten whose wife was a childhood friend of Kitching’s. She has strong views that are often inconsistent with Labor policy. She never won preselection and never faced the voters. It was perhaps presumptuous of her to expect immediate elevation to deciding on strategy.

    Penny Wong’s comment was badly phrased but I agree with the sentiment that our politicians (and all of us) owe a duty of care to our children to take urgent action to reduce/eliminate the burning of fossil fuels. Having a colleague arguing that coal is great would be…..frustrating. That does not excuse the remark but it does not, to me, provide evidence of a pattern of bullying.

  25. wam

    Kaye, notice how the commercial channels love a controversy, over and over with accompanying totally unrelated pictures.
    Labor could make a telling selection from Linda Reynolds office cry ‘Britany is a lying cow’ to scummo’s utterances, it’s not a race, I don’t hold a hose(that was all the rabbott could do) and his off the cuff assessment re woman greeted by bullets??
    But Albo will wear the bullshit about women bullies in the ranks because he cannot trash Scummo much less a deceased woman.

  26. A Commentator

    “Journalists have said that Ms Kitching complained to them directly yet she never used the party complaints process available to her”
    Are you aware that no one is required to make a complaint through their own employer (or organisation) in order to justify a bullying claim. That’s a red herring.
    Most people just put up with awful bullying and don’t complain, despite the detrimental effect on their health, and their work performance
    “Not a newbie to the stress/machinations of politics and its factions.”
    Nonetheless, people that are ostracised or the subject of mean spirited/ill informed comments, meet the legal standard of being bullied
    “Her husband was convicted of damaging and removing Liberal and Greens election posters in Michael Danby’s electorate. He also wrote a blog that dished a lot of questionable dirt.”
    Does the behaviour and status of your partner justify bullying?

    …I could go on, because every one of your points is an attempt to justify or excuse behaviour that would be intolerable in any other decent organisation or company.
    Ardent ALP supporters just cannot bring themselves to unequivocally say-
    * People should expect far better from the ALP
    * The behaviour is not acceptable in any organisation, and the political culture has proved to be unsatisfactory yet again.
    Try owning up to those points and you’ll look more credible

  27. Terence Mills

    A Commentator

    There is a reason that Newscorp, Sky-after-dark and the Liberal Party are running so hard on this and it has nothing to do with bullying but it has everything to do with distraction.

    The media advisers in the prime minister’s office are doing their utmost to look the other way when it comes to Hillsong and the scandal surrounding this pseudo church and its chief who has just resigned or was sacked for alleged indiscretions.

    Brian Houston the head honcho at Hillsong is Morrison’s spiritual adviser, they kneel down together in prayer and now Houston’s alleged activities have forced his departure from the money machine he created. It suggests questions about Morrison’s judgement which the Liberal Party don’t want to discuss

    There is no bullying scandal with Senator Kitching ; she was a strong woman who gave as good as she got in what is a tough game and she loved it – to now portray her as a shrinking violet is a disservice to her legacy.

    The Liberals are playing games and they want us to believe that ‘each way Albo’ is not up to the job.

    A Commentator, remember the main game here is not the late senator, it is not bullying or factions, it is get Albo !

  28. A Commentator

    How about you try to reply to the issues I’ve raised, not use a “blame the media” excuse.
    What exactly have I said that you take issue with?

  29. Kaye Lee

    A Commentator,

    Firstly, you have no idea who I vote for so please do not presume.

    Secondly, I have written reams about the deplorable nature of politics as it is currently practised and the atrocious behaviour on display every question time. I have written about the toxic nature of factions and the winner takes all mentality that has eroded any notion of public service.

    I pointed out the misdoings of BOTH Kitching and her husband, not to suggest she is responsible for what her partner does, but to show that BOTH of them played dirty at times.

    You keep asking if this or that justifies being bullied or ostracised when I have very patiently given my reasons for not accepting there is any evidence of bullying or ostracisation. You should work for push pollers – they use those tactics.

    PS You insisting that people address what YOU have raised whilst completely ignoring what they are raising is very controlling of you.

    Would you continue to confide in someone who was trashing you to journalists and tipping off your opposition? Kitching wanted in on the tactics committee but she blew her chance by betraying their trust.

  30. A Commentator

    Here’s a challenge then. Just explain how the behaviour of several within the ALP does NOT meet this definition-

    “Bullying at work happens when:

    -a person or group of people repeatedly behave unreasonably towards another worker or group of workers

    -the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.”

    It is disingenuous to argue-
    * There is no jurisdiction
    * Her husband is shady
    * She’s an experienced politician, so she could expect it
    * She did it too
    … because those factors do not excuse or justify it, and there are no exemptions on those grounds

  31. leefe


    ” “Journalists have said that Ms Kitching complained to them directly yet she never used the party complaints process available to her”
    Are you aware that no one is required to make a complaint through their own employer (or organisation) in order to justify a bullying claim. That’s a red herring.
    Most people just put up with awful bullying and don’t complain … ”

    But she did complain. Not, at any time, via the channel specifically set up to handle such issues, but directly to the media. Media that have a long and inglorious record of sticking it to the ALP on the slightest pretext, including lies.

  32. Michael Taylor

    A Commentator,

    This is the gist of the article:

    As I said at the outset of this post, the behaviour this week by Morrison, and now Mr Dutton, as well as their partisan media friends weaponising a death is vile and distasteful.

    Care to comment?

  33. Kaye Lee

    Here’s a challenge then. Just explain how leaving someone off ONE committee is bullying or unreasonable behaviour or a risk to health and safety.

    It is disingenuous to argue –
    *Ms Kitching was unwilling to use a complaints process set up and reviewed during her tenure. It appears she was quite happy to complain to people who couldn’t fix the problem if one, in fact, existed.
    *That I said anywhere at any time in any way that she could expect “it” or she did “it” too or that factors excuse or justify “it”. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by “it”.

  34. A Commentator

    The behaviour was more than being left off a single committee.
    * The intemperate and ill considered comment of Penny Wong was unreasonable
    * Being overlooked in seeking to ask questions in parliament is ostracising a politician
    * And being kicked off a committee
    Reports from her friends suggest that she felt she could not trust anyone. So why would she trust the ALP complaints process?
    Even Bill Shorten acknowledged that the ALP machination had taken their toll on her health.
    Her treatment clearly meets the definition of workplace bullying.
    It was not reasonable, it was repeated and it took a toll on her health

  35. A Commentator

    MT, I didn’t see, hear or read any comments from Morrison or Dutton. So for better or for worse, the views I have expressed are entirely the result of my own thinking

  36. Kaye Lee

    Re Penny Wong’s insensitive comment….

    Context: Senator Kitching argued it would be “virtue signalling” to support a Greens motion endorsing the school strike for climate which was a most dismissive attitude toward young people expressing genuine concern and phrased in that very Murdoch way. She then told reporters about the exchange which was reported on two years ago at which stage Ms Wong apologised.

    According to Phil Coorey, Senator Kitching and friends had dubbed Senator Wong, deputy Senate leader Kristina Keneally and manager of opposition business Katy Gallagher “mean girls”. That was rather nasty of the Senator and her “friends”. How very schoolyard of them. Then again, so was being part of a group who call themselves Wolverines and put stickers of claw marks next to their office doors.

  37. A Commentator

    You seem to miss the point, reflecting adversely on the family status of a work colleague is unreasonable. In any circumstances.
    Therefore, according to the legal definition, it represents bullying.
    In terms of the power relationship, Kitching was in the subordinate position. Therefore it was incumbent on Wong to exercise greater discretion and control.
    Wong regretted the comment, that mitigates its seriousness. It doesn’t render it irrelevant

  38. Kaye Lee

    No, it represents a single insensitive comment, made in a specific context that explains why children were part of the convo. It was not appropriate. Far from being meekly accepted or ignored, Ms Kitching chose the media as her avenue for complaint.

    Ms Wong publicly apologised for the comment and expressed her regret….two years ago when the story was first reported by Ms Kitching’s media contacts.

  39. A Commentator

    As I said, Kitching was in the subordinate position, therefore Wong had the duty to exercise control and restraint.
    It’s a fact that the responsibility rests with leadership, not the subordinate. Any leader that reflects on the family status of a subordinate has engaged in unreasonable behaviour. That’s workplace bullying
    The leadership also reduced Kitching’s ability to ask questions in the senate. Guidelines applicable to workplace bullying specifically address issues concerning control and allocation of work.
    That control is likely to meet a workplace definition of bullying
    Kitching also reportedly experienced “the silent treatment”
    This also represents bullying, particularly by a leader relating to someone in a subordinate role.
    The threshold for demonstrating bullying isn’t high. This has proved to be appropriate.
    The treatment of Kitching meets that threshold

  40. Kaye Lee

    One comment, subsequently apologised for, does NOT constitute bullying regardless of what you say.

    As for question time, I, along with the vast majority of Senators, don’t watch it but I do watch senate committees. Estimates can be quite interesting. And I can assure you, Ms Kitching was in no way sidelined there – she was all over the place asking questions. She was often chair or deputy chair.
    You can view all the committees she was on here

    Who is reporting that Kitching received the silent treatment? What do they mean by that? She wasn’t invited over for a BBQ? She had ministerial and committee responsibilities so obviously she was not being left out of work allocation – she just didn’t get the job she wanted.

    You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to demand your judgement be conclusively accepted. One comment, one committee – that’s all you’ve shown and you have completely ignored the actions of Ms Kitching that may have contributed to her not being trusted to be on that committee.

  41. A Commentator

    Do you think pointing to the deficiencies in your argument is demanding acceptance of mine?

    Repeated unreasonable behaviour represents workplace bullying. I have identified repetition.

    #The actions of a subordinate do not justify their bullying by any leader.

  42. Kaye Lee

    “Repeated unreasonable behaviour represents workplace bullying. I have identified repetition.”

    No you haven’t. You have identified one comment made in 2019.

    Excluding someone from one committee does not represent bullying.

  43. A Commentator

    Nothing to see here…it’s all an invention…the ABC has invented the story…
    “Senator Kitching told several colleagues that she had said to the trainer, towards the end of an hour’s instruction on sexual harassment, bullying and respect at work: “What are you going to do about the fact that I am being bullied?”
    There is a culture of exclusion and bullying in the party and this is from people who are holier than thou,” said the senator, who spoke to the ABC on condition of anonymity.
    …one of her female Labor caucus colleagues told the ABC Senator Kitching would have feared retribution, and shared her concern that the complaints structure in Parliament was “overly litigious and would not deliver the outcomes”.
    Her parliamentary friends said she raised concerns about her treatment with deputy Labor leader Richard Marles.
    Mr Marles would not directly answer questions about when or how many times Senator Kitching had raised with him allegations of bullying.”
    Colleagues variously describe Senator Kitching being left out of meetings, dumped from the Labor tactics committee, given late-night shifts in the Senate and otherwise being “disengaged” from parliamentary Labor Party business.

  44. Kaye Lee

    I find it very hard to believe that she told a workplace trainer that she was being bullied and they ignored her. What was their response? I also am amazed that all these unnamed Labor people that she told also did nothing about it if they were genuinely concerned she was being bullied.

    I also find it hard to believe that Ms Kitching was concerned about retribution if she used the complaints system but thought airing her grievances to the media would be a better path.

    I have wasted enough time on this. Moving on.

  45. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I think that article supported your argument.

    As do I, btw.

  46. Florence Howarth

    Kaye, I am sure the workplace trainer did her job, told her what the options were. IMO she would have two options. Those set up by parliament & Her party’s own system. One would have expected the trainer would respect her privacy. Kimberley, it seems to opt to do neither.

  47. A Commentator

    It’s not up to you to decide whether she was bullied, nor me for that matter.
    But there is evidence that-
    * Kitching complained about her treatment
    * Some of it (at least) was unreasonable
    * Her health suffered during that period
    * The bullying test is therefore satisfied
    It isn’t a matter of opinion, it is simply applying the criteria

  48. Kaye Lee

    With so many other issues demanding his attention, including sorting the cost-of-living package in the budget, flood reparations, additional help for Ukraine, uncompleted Liberal NSW preselections, not to mention the bullying accusations levelled against him, Morrison should have kept his distance.

    Instead, sensing opportunity, he dived in to turn up the heat on Albanese. Albo’s enemies and the media were already doing the job for him.

    As well as being smart and ambitious, Kitching was a tough player who revelled in political intrigue, making enemies as easily as she made friends. She loved the nickname “Mata Hari” bestowed on her by a Labor MP, a mate, who admired her for not toeing the line, who also warned her to be careful she did not cross that line.

    He reckons she never complained to him about her treatment, except that she wanted to be restored to Labor’s Senate tactics committee, from which she had been dismissed. “She was tough, she didn’t want people holding her hand,” he said. “She didn’t ask anyone to feel sorry for her.”

    Kitching lost the trust of many on her own side. She was suspected of leaking and undermining colleagues, not only by briefing media – so far Chris Uhlmann and Andrew Bolt have publicly revealed Kitching told them she was concerned Wong would be weak on China – but Coalition MPs, former Liberal Party officials and even senior staff in the Prime Minister’s office.

    Politicians leak. And they do have friends across the aisle. But the breadth and depth of hers fed the distrust. The crunch came in June last year when then defence minister Linda Reynolds said in Senate estimates she had been forewarned by a Labor senator she would face questioning over the alleged rape of former staffer Brittany Higgins.

    In private meetings later, to prove she was not making it up, Reynolds went so far as to produce for Wong, Gallagher and Keneally, video footage from the Senate chamber showing Kitching approaching her months before in early February before prayers. Reynolds told them this was when Kitching first told her the tactics committee had discussed it and planned to weaponise the alleged rape.

    Reynolds also showed them subsequent text messages she had received from Kitching effectively confirming their initial conversation.

    The matter had not been discussed in tactics, something Reynolds later accepted, so Kitching’s leak was actually not true. This was a sackable offence in anyone’s language. Kitching was dropped from tactics. Fearing ongoing leaks to their opponents or media, it was no wonder they restricted her access and contact with her.

  49. A Commentator

    I see Richard Marles has admitted Kitching raised the bullying with him. But he didn’t act because she didn’t make a formal complaint.
    Marles has neglected his leadership responsibility.
    Any decent leader knows that regardless of a formal complaint, certain action has to be taken to protect the organisation and the individual, once the organisation is aware of the possibility of bullying.
    That’s a basic test of leadership.
    Marles failed it.

  50. Kaye Lee

    A Commentator,

    You lose credibility when you just make stuff up. Kitching did NOT raise bullying with Marles.

    “At no point did Kimberley make a bullying complaint to me. At no point did she ask me to take action,” Mr Marles said on Wednesday in his first answers to questions about their one-on-one conversation. “She was obviously unhappy about the Senate tactics committee. “

  51. A Commentator

    That’s the problem with your response, you think a formal complaint has to be made in order to take action.
    That’s an incorrect attitude in so many respects. And you might reflect on whether you would apply that standard to other forms of (possible) misbehavior

  52. Florence Howarth

    Kimberley complained to Marles about being taken off the task committee. Where is the bullying in that? People are taken off put on committees all the time. The woman was still on other committees. IMHO, nothing to investigate. The media is still running hard on issues during the Albanese presser. Nothing new, running round in circles.

  53. Kaye Lee

    That’s the problem with your response. You include the word formal – no-one else did, Marles or me. You also presume to tell me what I think and incorrectly assign to me an attitude/standard I have at no time expressed.

    Enough distraction. This is a waste of time and energy.

  54. A Commentator

    I don’t expect anyone to reply to my comments. It’s entirely a matter for you whether or not you choose to “waste your time” exchanging views on current issues.
    And by the way, with your last comment, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term- semantics

  55. Terence Mills

    I think Newscorp and Sky have moved on – they couldn’t get any traction either !

  56. Phil Pryor

    A rigidity of outlook, mediaeval, fixed, unaware but unyielding, seems to have possessed, or repossessed, our commentator

  57. A Commentator

    You’ve lost the debate if you-
    * Blame the media
    * Disparage the individual, rather than deal with the merit of the argument

  58. Terence Mills

    Oh look !

    “The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has distanced himself from his friend and mentor, Hillsong pastor Brian Houston, who has resigned from the church over allegedly inappropriate behaviour towards two women.

    As recently as last year, Morrison publicly acknowledged the spiritual influence of Houston on his life, and in his maiden speech to parliament credited him with the pastoral work that helped guide his faith at an early age.

    On Thursday Morrison said it was “entirely appropriate” for Houston to resign from the global church after complaints about his conduct by two women that led to an internal investigation.”

  59. Kaye Lee

    “I made a commitment to my faith at an early age and have been greatly assisted by the pastoral work of many dedicated church leaders, in particular the Reverend Ray Green and pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Coleman.”

    Scott Morrison confirms he sought White House invite for Hillsong pastor Brian Houston

    Scott Morrison’s Hillsong mate Leigh Coleman, an alleged fraudster and crook, set to break $100 million in government contracts

  60. Terence Mills

    I haven’t been at Hillsong now for over, about 15 years, I go to a local church,” Morrison said this morning, professing himself “disappointed and shocked to hear the news”.

    But his efforts to dissociate himself from Hillsong are profoundly at odds with his enthusiastic support for Houston and Hillsong in recent years – Morrison’s most recent and high-profile visit to Hillsong was in July 2019.

    Waiting for the rooster to crow !

  61. corvusboreus

    Morrison was unfazed by the polyester pastor being on criminal trial over charges of concealing pedophila.
    Yet when Hillsong boots Houston for alleged dopey-gropey behavior, Morrison suddenly shuns his former guru.

    It seems that, in our PM’s eyes, alleged trangression within Hillsong churchare much worse than matters warranting trial on serious criminal charges.

  62. Harry Lime

    Terence,I’m waiting for the EAGLE to shit…on Scooter’s face, and Corvusboreus, our illustrious PM has a 4th dan blackbelt in hypocrisy…as well as lying.The hat trick will be complete when he loses the election and blames someone else.

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