Christian Kerr writes:

There was an interesting story on AM today in which a staffer in
Tassie Premier Paul Lennon’s office spoke out about the influx of shady
operatives to help fight the election.

ANNIE
GUEST: A disgruntled member of the Premier’s 30 staff has spoken
privately to the ABC, saying concern over the Government’s denial of a
dirt unit motivated the job jeopardising decision.

The issue
erupted when allegations about a company partly owned by Greens
politicians were faxed anonymously to journalists, and an email
containing similar information was traced to the Premier’s Chief of
Staff, Rod Scott.

Yesterday the Government admitted the Premier’s office was behind the information but described it as legitimate business.

Legitimate business? Perhaps, in one sense. Negative research on opponents has long been a standard practice
of politics – imported from the United States
– and commonplace in Australia
since the 1990s. But how did the ABC manage to swallow this outrageous dodge?

The insider says it’s a blatant misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

But
a spokesman for the Premier, Paul Lennon, reiterated there is no dirt
unit. He says any additional staff in the Premier’s office are
volunteers.

Pardon? It doesn’t matter what capacity you do it in. As a paid
staffer, a borrowed staffer, a hired-gun consultant or a volunteer, you’re
still a dirt unit. This morning’s spin from Paul Lennon’s office is entirely
disingenuous. That the ABC would accept it, and not push this point home, is
truly remarkable.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW