You know you’ve touched a nerve when you get a lawyer’s letter from Peter Beattie’s people.

Last Friday, Mackay City councillor, Queensland Nationals Party member, blogger and journalist George Christensen received this email from a lawyer acting on behalf of ALP State Secretary Milton Dick:

My clients require that you remove your blog postings “Hedley Thomas calls on Beattie to come clean” and “Beattie Merri Rose Scandal Rumours” and “What has Beattie to Hide”. The matters are defamatory and are contemptuous of proceedings before the Court. Please contact me … to confirm that you have removed the offending material.

The offending posts had been up on the site since Monday 20 November, but it took until Friday for the ALP to notice. Perhaps they’d been tipped off or maybe they had been Googling for spot fires that might need stamping out.

Whatever the case, at 3.50pm on Friday an ALP insider logged onto the site. The legal threat was made to Christensen not long after.

So what had Christensen written? Apparently something that everyone else has only been half saying.

Christensen documents the series of events on his blog. He says it was the post “Beattie Merri Rose Scandal Rumours” that contained the offending sentence, while “Hedley Thomas calls on Beattie to come clean” and “What has Beattie to hide” only detailed facts that had already been reported.

Since threatening legal action on Friday, ALP insiders have logged onto Christensen’s site several times — on Sunday, yesterday and today — presumably to check that he’s keeping silent.

Peter Fray

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