We love Ben Fordham. Almost as much as Channel Nine loves Ben Fordham, which has lately boosted him up the network’s increasingly rickety star ladder.

It’s the versatility of the star A Current Affair reporter that makes him such an asset to the network. One week he can be standing up to Sydney nightclub kingpin (and Underbelly star) John Ibrahim — deftly stringing out a ‘no comment’ into a 10-minute “ACA exclusive”, as Media Watch pointed out on Monday …

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… next week he’s suiting up to step in for Tracey Grimshaw as ACA host in Melbourne, at ease under the bright studio lights, aside from one back-stage scare documented on Twitter …:

@BenFordham Just had my innocence shattered in the wardrobe dept of Channel 9 Melbourne when I saw someone cleaning the headless body of Plucka Duck.

But Ben landed one of his best postings (save for the wilds of West Papua in search of Wa Wa) just this week. Location: Canberra — where Ben joined the big guns of Australian political reporting in the parliamentary press gallery. Standing in for Laurie Oakes.

On Tuesday Ben reported Kevin Rudd’s poll pain and declared: “It could be the final fortnight of parliament before the election.”

But last night came the scoop: Rudd’s broken promise to meet Hornsby Hospital doctor Richard Harris over the “concentration camp”-like conditions on the wards. Ben confronted the PM — Harris had been tweeting the prime minister and he hadn’t responded. Sydney’s Peter Overton crossed live to Ben on the scene:

Overton: “…the PM is not happy with this story?”

Fordham: “No, he made that pretty clear to me last night, Pete, but Kevin Rudd can’t have it both ways on this. He uses Twitter to promote himself and also to promote official government policy, but when a doctor contacts him via Twitter to try and get him to keep a promise, Kevin Rudd says that Twitter doesn’t count.”

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Ben finally declared: “Kevin Rudd is heading to Hornsby Hospital and it’s going to happen soon.” Case closed.

As Ben tweeted on Wednesday:

@BenFordham Filling in for the legend Laurie Oakes at the moment for Nine News in Canberra. I keep asking myself…”what would Laurie do?”

Well, we can’t be sure, but probably not that story, Ben. Maybe tweet him to find out in future.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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