As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.

*This article was originally published on June 17, 2009.

Not content with owning a famous attack dog, it seems Amanda Vanstone has become one herself. Crikey has been reliably informed that our publicity-conscious Ambassador to Italy was recently on leave in Australia where Her Excellency spent many hours badgering Immigration officials for the names of any Roman policemen or women who had visited Australia in the past six months.

It would appear Amanda can’t let go of the story we shared with our readers about her dog, Gus, and his unruly behaviour towards the Roman police and a foreign envoy paying our ambassador an official visit.

Back in March, Crikey reported that Amanda Vanstone’s beautiful weimaraner, a hound who answers to the name of Gus, bit Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy, Tasnim Aslam, when she arrived at Casa Australia to make an official call:

“According to a cop from the Roman constabulary — who was visiting Melbourne and who Crikey happened upon at a cocktail party – Gus’ behaviour was the subject of a lot of time-wasting and many communications between our embassy, the Pakistani embassy, the Italian foreign office and DFAT.

“Amanda of course was on Gus’ side — hang the diplomatic niceties – and her main aim was to save the beast’s life, an issue that had hung in the balance. Gus was eventually spared but is now muzzled when anyone but his mistress is present.

“That’s cold comfort indeed for the Italian cop assigned to Amanda’s ‘protection’ unit and who was bailed up against a tree by Gus in the embassy garden one day. Although not bitten by the brute, he had his uniform torn.

“… Our garrulous Roman cop revealed that the main gossip among Rome’s very professional and elegant diplomatic community centred around the doings of our Amanda, which, to put it bluntly, isn’t quite what DFAT wants.”

But her newfound role as a latter-day Sherlock Holmes doesn’t stop there — her hapless cook and driver were grilled, we understand, by Commonwealth cops attached to the Rome Embassy in what was a useless attempt to find who leaked the information, which, incidentally, has never been denied.

It must be true for two reasons — it appeared first in Crikey and was then picked up and used, but not attributed, by the Murdoch Sunday newspapers.

Peter Fray

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