Kevin Rudd calls the Exclusive Brethren an “extremist cult”.

Yet last week it was reported that the opposition leader wrote a gushing letter in May to the principal of the Brethren-run Agnew School in the suburb of Norman Park, in his own electorate. 

“I am pleased to inform you that the application tendered by Agnew School for the provision of wordex machines and computers has been successful,” it read.

“I am pleased that your dedication to providing the highest quality of education for your students has been rewarded through this funding initiative.”

And it seems that this confusion about the Exclusive Brethren is widespread throughout the ALP.

A Sydney journo blogs about a curious document spotted at a doorstop by senior shadow Anthony Albanese on the Brethren:

[A]ccording to figures released by Labor’s Business Manager Anthony Albanese, the Government has spent about $42 million dollars on campuses allegedly run by the Exclusive Brethren, across Australia, over the past decade…

But, here’s where it gets interesting.

About two weeks ago Labor-man Albanese calls a press conference outside a fancy Sydney hotel on Pitt Street where he releases a document outlining this spending.

No problems there. But when he shuffles the papers in his hands, a sensitive Labor Party memo finds its way to the top of the pile — I can read it because I’m standing right next to him.

It’s a emailed exchange between the usual ALP apparatchiks, starting with Walt Secord, Rudd’s right-hand man, and ending with Albo’s press secretary.

Labor’s top brass has passed on the EB funding figures to Albanese, asking him to make a quick media appearance and create some noise around the issue.

The document is emailed through the food-chain of party-figureheads who have their say about how the attack will pan out.

One of those people is Tim Gleason, an insider who advises Albanese to get the figures “out there”, but provides him with a warning.

Don’t dwell on the EB funding issue too long, he writes. Make a brief mention about the schools then “run away”, the email continues.

“We would probably do the same.”