John Anderson’s office has taken umbrage at our story last friday
on the media training of Tamworth businessman Greg Maguire before his
Senate hearing last week. His press secretary writes:


Dear Crikey,

I
have some considerable regard for Hugo Kelly as both a writer and a
gentleman, but he has gone dangerously close to defaming my employer,
John Anderson, in the report titled “Who’s training Greg Maguire?” in
today’s Crikey Daily.

Given John’s feelings about this issue,
that’s a line I would not want to go near. He would certainly love to
give Tony Windsor the full judicial inquiry that he has called for –
all Mr Windsor needs to do is repeat his false bribery allegations
outside of Parliament.

For the record, there has been no contact
between Mr Maguire and Mr Anderson on this matter this year, to discuss
his evidence or anything else. He, or anyone in this office, have not
“coached” Mr Maguire. To my knowledge, nobody even remotely connected
with The Nationals has “coached” him. Mr Maguire made this plain under
oath yesterday, saying the only person he had spoken to about this was
his lawyer. Even his wife was excluded.

I’m not sure what further evidence Crikey needs.

Hugo
was also a press secretary to a deputy prime minister. I would be most
surprised if he never distributed documents favourable to his then boss
in the press gallery. Mr Maguire’s earlier press releases provided
further proof – on top of a Federal Police investigation and the robust
denials of John Anderson and Sandy Macdonald – that Mr Windsor’s claims
were a complete crock. Of course we are going to distribute them to the
media once they are made available to us.

But did we write them? Of course not. Any suggestion otherwise is certainly defamatory.

As
an aside, I would say that while Mr Maguire’s press releases were
compelling, they were clearly written by a lawyer, not a media adviser.

Regards,

Paul Chamberlin
Senior Media Adviser
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services

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