Federal MP Mark Arbib, Minister for Sport, Social Housing and Homelessness and Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, has been revealed as a confidential contact for the US embassy in Canberra in a WikiLeaks cable released to Fairfax early this morning.
The right wing Labor powerbroker who played a key role in the removal of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister has, since at least 2006, provided insider commentary to embassy officials about the Labor Party and the federal government.
According to The Age:
His candid comments have been incorporated into reports to Washington with repeated requests that his identity as a ”protected” source be guarded.
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Embassy cables reporting on the Labor Party and national political developments, frequently classified “No Forn” – meaning no distribution to non-US personnel – refer to Senator Arbib as a strong supporter of Australia’s alliance with the US.
Arbib may not have wanted his secret pro-bono part time job to be revealed, but the cable also comes with a gushing recommendation from his embassy profile, which will add a nice written reference to attach to his resume:
“He understands the importance of supporting a vibrant relationship with the US while not being too deferential. We have found him personable, confident and articulate.”
The last six months have been a formative period in the general public’s perception of Arbib. When Julia Gillard took office he became known as one of the “faceless” men who knifed Kevin 07 and now, five and a bit months on, will perhaps be regarded as a “faceless” “inside man” with a direct line to US authorities.
It makes sense, when you think about it. It’s easier being a confidential informant if you have no face.