Labor had a nice little stunt yesterday in Question Time. We’ll
let The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Spike column tell the story: “There’s usually nothing like a good stunt to get your picture
in the papers – but not this time. Labor brought some props to question time in
Federal Parliament yesterday to help get across the message about the Howard
Government’s industrial relations advertising campaign. At an opportune moment
in the debate, several members held up placards saying the ads were ‘protected
by spin.'”

But that’s not all. It goes on to say: “Bizarrely, a Herald photographer
who caught the Labor ploy on film was warned by Parliament House authorities
not to publish the image, under threat of being banned from the house for a
week. The image breached the rules because it related to a disturbance in
Parliament, they said. Labor was fuming. ‘We strongly believe that the photos
should be allowed to be published,’ said the manager of Opposition business, Julia Gillard. ‘We were making the
clear point that the ads that are in today’s newspapers were a grossly improper
use of taxpayers’ funds.’ ”

Indeed. Crikey
understands that the Serjeant-at-Arms, the officer responsible for the security of the House of Representatives
Chamber and for controlling admission to the galleries, got quite heavy
yesterday.

Photographers were
reminded that they – and anyone else from their news outlet – could be banned
from the galleries if photos appeared.

Protected by spin – and the Serjeant.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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