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Crikey Says

Nov 16, 2012

Crikey says: smear or story? Probably neither

Should you care about Julia Gillard and the Slater & Gordon saga? Read our cheat sheet (and Mark Latham's take) and decide for yourself. Why you should stop picking on Andrea Yu. Film and TV production has entered a new golden age. And how games are making it big via their consoles.

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Tens of thousands of words in dozens of articles; some very good journalism and some stories incomprehensible to casual readers. Somehow we’re expected to believe, according to the blood-thirsty conservative commentariat, Julia Gillard acted so badly as a Slater & Gordon lawyer some two decades ago that her role as Prime Minister of Australia in 2012 should be in question.

And you’re only allowed to be in two camps: that Gillard has “serious questions to answer”, as the opposition has been baying, or you’re an apologist for the PM and her government.

We’re not either. Mostly, we’re just confused.

So we went back. We read it all from the start. Every word in every article. What are the genuinely new revelations that have emerged since The Australian began covering the story in July? And should voters care about any of them?

(You owe us. Big time.)

Read Matthew Knott’s forensic breakdown in Crikey today and make up your own mind. But the conclusion seems fairly obvious to us. Gillard was naive, perhaps even incompetent, in her dealings with her then-boyfriend and other union heavies while working on accounts at the firm. But she didn’t commit corruption or embezzlement. She didn’t break any laws. She didn’t knowingly gain from any transaction. She didn’t lie about anything. She has adequately answered every legitimate claim.

Perhaps a smoking gun is still out there. We doubt it. And until someone finds one, it’s time to move on.

Because now, some four months after the political agenda was sidetracked by his saga, the government’s enemies are no closer to throwing them out. The end result might reflect much more poorly on those so desperate to keep it alive than it does the Prime Minister.

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