We’ve lamented before how Glenn Milne likes to be a player, not just a spectator, in Canberra. Today he gives us another “I’m the Hero Of My Own Reportage” effort, claiming that a senior Government figure – Julia Gillard, judging by Milne’s less than subtle hints – told him he “would not be dealt with again by the Government.” Milne’s complaint drew a supportive nod from Andrew Bolt.
To which the logical reply is, what do you mean by “again”, Glenn? Apart from his dinners with Wayne Swan, Milne appears to be entirely lacking any access to senior levels of government.
Let’s have a look at Milne’s efforts for The Australian and News Ltd’s Sunday papers in recent months. There have been four swipes at Kevin Rudd, including suggestions he’ll be a one-term Prime Minister and a complaint that taxpayers pay for the Prime Minister’s power and petrol bills, two attacks on the ALP’s Gippsland campaign, including the notorious “platform for pervs” piece, two pieces based on Tom Hughes’s legal advice to his son-in-law Malcolm Turnbull, a piece on Alexander Downer’s imminent return to the frontbench, four attacks on Brendan Nelson’s leadership, the Malcolm Turnbull excise leak, Milne’s contribution to News Ltd’s war on Glenn Stevens, a recycling of Eric Abetz’s attack on GetUp, a piece on a George Brandis submission to shadow cabinet, two pieces sourced from Greg Hunt, and a costing of Kevin Rudd’s childcare proposal (days after Crikey had done it).
Alert readers might spot a pattern there. Milne doesn’t get much in the way of inside information from non-Coalition sources. Apart from his dinner with Wayne Swan, which yielded the Stevens piece, about the best he’s done is give some publicity to John Faulkner’s sterling work on electoral funding reform. At least you can say Milne definitely isn’t on the Government drip.
Then again it might be the way Milne pursues his craft. According to a Gallery source, Milne has told Malcolm Turnbull that he (Turnbull) needs Milne on side if he’s going to get anywhere, and that he’s “not a good enemy to have”. Yes, apparently people do talk that way outside movies.
In any event, Milne allegedly incurred the wrath of Gillard for raising claims by Peter van Onselen – who like Milne is rather closer to the Liberal side of politics than to Labor – that Gillard and Rudd had a loose pre-election agreement that she’d be Treasurer. Van Onselen also makes the shocking allegations that Kevin Rudd, um, swears.
If senior Government figures are issuing threats over such trivia, then we’re in deep strife.