Here’s all the feedback on Cheryl & Gareth that we’ve slotted into the “miscellaneous” file. A lot of it seems to be saying Cheryl got what she deserved, and most of its focuses on Cheryl, not her partner in the sideways samba.

So, the chickens are coming home to roost….at last.

I was [a staffer to a former Democrat leader].

I saw at first hand the incompetence and dithering of Cheryl Kernot. She was never prepared for the Party Room conferences. She never contributed to the discussions, and was never prepared to commit herself in a vote, until she had consulted Gavin. (We always suspected he was the “brains” behind her.)

She had a good media image, and performed well as she avoided answering any questions.

Her role in undermining Powell, using both Haines and Lees (Haines was working the phones from Lees’ office for months – spreading rumours and innuendo), was only known to a few…she covered her tracks well.

She manipulated the hapless John Coulter into taking on the leadership, knowing how useless he was and that he would soon need to be replaced by, surprise, surprise….the saviour herself, Cheryl.

Cheryl was behind all the Press Gallery trawling of rumours about the affair between Janet Powell and Syd Spindler, even though everyone in the party had known about it for years – as had the Press Gallery, but considered it all irrelevant.

She created a “crisis” and played out her game plan with aplomb.

When she defected to Labor, I remember writing to The Age, The Australian etc. warning ALP members that they would live to regret her move.

She didn’t have the political nous, nor the ability to make a major contribution and, looking at her track record in a number of portfolio areas, I was proved completely right.

All Cheryl had was a superb talent for self-promotion. The latest revelations just show that she was willing to do “whatever it takes” to get her way.

Machiavelli could have learned from her!!!

One can only be grateful that she never achieved ministerial office and hence, the people of Australia were protected from her incompetence. Unfortunately, the ALP was not so protected. You will recall the enormous resources they had to make available to prop her up and prevent the truth coming out…she just couldn’t do it.

Of course I have an axe to grind, I lost my job when [former leader] was replaced, and suffered a huge personal and financial disaster, thanks to Cheryl.

But, all of the above can be verified. Janet Powell, Hans Paas, Syd Spindler – they were all there, they all saw her in action, and they all felt the impact of her deeds.

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Dear Crikey Editor,

I believe that all the public discussion (as opposed to the private knowledge of the Press Gallery) about Cheryl Kernot and her suitability or otherwise for public office, has largely missed the point. The central issue about Kernot is that she is a hypocrite. She bays about the ethics of the press and the way they should not be concerned with so called private issues, but she herself rode on the back of the private behaviour of the former Democrat leader whom she replaced. If you remember, that female leader (I can’t remember her name) was having an affair with one of her staffers, and Kernot used it against her in her campaign to unseat her as leader. To now paint herself as the victim, frankly, is a bit rich.

Further, by writing the book as she has, which is just one long whinge about the so called “boys’ club” of the Labor Party, itself reflects on the reputations of a number of senior party figures.

Under these circumstances, she has to expect her own inadequacies will be publicly examined, particularly if highly relevant material is selectively omitted when she markets the book as a “tell all” autobiography of her life in parliament.

Regards

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Stephen,

The whole Cheryl thing – can we just get over it.

It was an interesting story, but it’s certainly no cracker, and not worth the space you’ve given it. Cheryl is a nobody, who did nothing, and whose “career” has turned into a trashy novel, that will at best be read by a few gossipy hacks. I’d rather you ran 10 stories about the Packers.

Speaking of trashy novels, I saw Johnny Warren sitting at a card table in Pitt St Mall last week trying desperately to sign copy’s of his book. I wish I had had a camera ’cause there was absolutely no one interested – and this was at lunchtime so the place was packed.

Keep up the good work.

– – – – – – – – –

She should now write a sequel “The Love Lives of Australian Pollies” and put in the lot, her own if it’s true and all the others – there must be some beauties!

– – – – – – – – –

This hyperactive media coverage of the Kernot-Evans affair is just another manifestation of the boredom in the Canberra press gallery and the decreasing relevance of party politics in the Australian agenda.

I mean who really gives a toss? Both these people are no longer in politics. They are now private citizens. And so what if they were carrying on together while in parliament. You don’t think this happens all the time?

Memo to Crikey, the Bulletin, the SMH and all the other media working themselves up into a lather of this:

WE DON’T CARE.

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RE: Gareth “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” Evans.

I want to see Cheryl produce her semen stained floral number as evidence of the alleged affair.

Kind regards

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They are all as bad as each other. I have never liked Oakes but there you go.

On the other hand Cheryl is, in my view, wholly manipulative and I think Oakes was correct when he calls her “lime light deprived”.

I have coined a saying: “the biggest arseholes champion the best causes”.

Think about that in the context of the Democrat Party. That party is full of precious little warm and fuzzy dears championing very worthwhile causes all in their own interests. This is also true of people in other parties but it is so transparent in the Democrats.

When the Democrats were first formed it was for the right reasons but in a very short time the arseholes and manipulators took over. Cheryl is one of them. The truth is that Cheryl got an easy ride in the Democrats. She would have gone unnoticed in any other forum.

A pox on all of them Kernot, Evans and Oakes.

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Reflecting further on the revelations of the past 48 hours:

Firstly, from my knowledge of pre-selection processes, you are expected to disclose EVERYTHING that may potentially be of relevance / impact upon your ability to represent your electorate and your Party. Presumably Gareth kept this affair a secret from his Holt pre-selectors? Wonder whether the issue came up / whether denials were made etc. Be interesting to see the form / questionnaire required to be filled out and signed?

Secondly, given the closeness of the vote for deputy leader between Gareth and Crean in 1996, and the current protestations by senior ALP figures and denial of all knowledge, it is not an unreasonable bow to draw that had the affair been public knowledge in 1996, Gareth may well not have been voted deputy, never become shadow treasurer, and Crean would have been deputy and shadow treasurer, taken the fight up to Costello a term earlier…and maybe even been in a position to contest the 2001 election as leader…?

Aside from poor taste and judgement, methinks Gareth has a lot more to answer for.

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Cheryl, describes in her book the following:

“I was astonished to learn that day and for years later in letters and phone calls and conversations that some women at home danced around living rooms with babes in arms, that some had been driving and pulled over to the side of the road to listen, that some had been so exultant that they almost ran off the road, that people travelling overseas had received mobile phone calls from friends.”

Let’s put this whole thing in perspective. Despite bonking Gareth Evans, the only reason the ALP made the mistake of taking her on was the following:

(a) She was woman “hear her roar” they said. This helped with the ALP’s 30% of seats rule and also they thought she could go to the front bench straight away. If she had a penis then the ALP would not have touched her and neither would’ve Gareth Evans for that matter!

(b) She was popular – only because she was forever abusing the Govt over the Telstra sale and sucking up to the green movement. It’s easy to be popular when you don’t have to make a decision in life as a party leader.

(c) She was from Queensland. Not a big issue, but seen as a big chance (and initially did) to take a marginal seat in Brisbane. She won Dickson then lost it.

The only time I danced around the living room was when it became very obvious that she was going to lose here seat in Dickson! I think she might have been a just a tad over-rated from the start, Steve.

Although Gareth didn’t think so!

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I can’t believe Pan McMillan would defend Cheryl, surely they’ve been conned the most. What? They pay her a retainer, to tell the truth. Now they’ve ended up with a book that will be absolutely friendless on the bookstands and will in all likelihood have to be pulped.

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It appears that Cheryl Kernot’s statement in her book that “the earth moved on October 15” when she announced her 1997 ‘defection’ revealed more than we realised. Perhaps less about “a fault line opening up under the Prime Minister’s office” than an extra-curricular pas de deux between Madame Kernot and Monsieur Evans?

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You’ve got to love Chezza “Don’t Blame Me” Kernot, don’t you?

She deserts the Democrats in the most sensational of fashions and complains when Laurie Oakes dares to ask her a provocative question about how it felt to walk away from a party in which she had invested so much time and effort to go straight into the arms of one of the two bastards she pledged to keep honest.

Questions about matters such as the stamp duty issue are standard for anyone who takes on high public office. Think about Paul Keating’s piggery or the scrutiny of Jeff and Felicity Kennett’s financial dealings during his time in Government.

In any event, the latest media intrusion that has Chezza bleating yet again has nothing to do with her gender, in spite of what she and Joan Kirner might think.

Cheryl Kernot told the world she was writing a tell-all book. She used the book to take one last swipe at her enemies in the media and in the Parliament in what I reckon was an attempt to turn herself into a Gough Whitlam-style political saint – a great leader cut down in her prime by the forces of darkness that would not allow a woman to lead the nation.

The only trouble was, the book did not tell all. It reveals much about Kernot’s ego, or her political judgment, that she chose to leave out that detail given this week’s revelation that most of the Canberra press gallery knew about Chezza and Gary years ago.

The issue is not marital infidelity. I dare say there’s been plenty of similar shenanigans since Billy Hughes was a pup.

This relationship has badly damaged the Democrats, has hurt Labor, has led to a Cabinet Minister to lie to the Parliament and brought on one of the most spectacular ends to a political career in my memory. It also raises a number of important points:

* Was Gareth Evans the prime motivator for Cheryl Kernot changing horses?

* Did the relationship taint Democrats policy or compromise the passage of legislation through the Parliament?

* Should Gareth Evans be punished for misleading the Parliament when he denied the relationship?

* Who in the Labor Party was asleep at the wheel when they allowed this train wreck to occur? The relationship was no secret in Parliamentary circles, apparently.

As a journalist, the more concerning issue is that no one asked these questions in the first place, most notably Laurie Oakes. If the relationship was well known, these questions should have cropped up in the minds of press gallery journalists straight away. I work in so-called lowly suburbans and these issues occurred to me straight away.

Laurie Oakes has damaged his own credibility while demolishing Kernot’s. The timing of the Oakes allegations were calculated for maximum impact and were clearly a reaction to Kernot’s criticism. If the story was that important to Oakes, why was it not reported years ago?

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I don’t find it at all difficult to call. Cheryl is not as smart a politician as she needed to be nor as she thought she was, but considering all the pressure that journalists heaped on her, not least Laurie, is it any wonder she has done some foolish things?

The last foolish thing has been to think she can publish a book without the same lot of turds giving her more of a hard time. I am one of those that thinks politics has sunk to a new low when private matters become fodder for a “brilliant” scoop.

Keep on doing your best but especially about the bloodsucking bastards who reckon to do great things for our economy.

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So, Cheryl was so swayed by her relationship with Gareth that she changed parties.

It occurred to me that Mr Tony Abbott successfully relied upon a similar imputation in his defamation action against Bob Ellis.

Let’s hope Cheryl takes to Mr Oakes with the big defamation stick!!!

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My opinion is that Cheryl deserves it. She never held back when on the attack, so it’s a classic case of “She can dish it out but she can’t take it”.

Also, what did she expect when she released a “Tell All” book? No inquiries? No scrutiny?

Heat, kitchen, you know the drill.

Peter Fray

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