Barnaby rushes to Smith’s defence. 2UE loud mouth Michael Smith — who remains benched, the station told us today, over a dispute with airing allegations against Julia Gillard — has many supporters, among them Senator Barnaby Joyce. The Nationals rogue sent this email to constituents last night:

From: “Swan, Jenny (Sen B. Joyce)”
Date: 14 September 2011 7:04:02 PM AEST
To: “Swan, Jenny (Sen B. Joyce)”
Subject: Message from Barnaby

As you know I have spoken to Michael Smith quite a bit over the last few years.

Mike was on 4BC Drive in Queensland and went to 2UE in Sydney, but it now appears he has ruffled the wrong feathers as I haven’t heard him on the radio lately.

I hope that this is not the case but there may be certain people in this building in Canberra who are a bit upset with Mike.

Well, as one maverick to another and a pretty keen supported of free speech in the Fourth Estate, I ask you to sign a petition in support of Mike.

Here are the details should you wish to do so.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-michael-smith-reinstate-him-to-2ue.html

Cheers,

Barnaby

Jenny Swan, Joyce’s flack, confirms she dispatched the email because “Barnaby thinks that for whatever reason you shouldn’t stifle free speech”. Well, indeed.

Livingstone and the Catholic Church. It’s worth noting the history of The Australian‘s senior writer Tess Livingstone, who has been covering Nick Xenaphon’s s-xual assault allegations in the Catholic Church. As a Crikey reader pointed out, Livingstone penned Cardinal George Pell’s biography Defender of the Faith Down Under, published in 2004. In an interview with the book’s American publisher Ignatius Ignight she said: “I have never worked in the religious media, but as a practicing Catholic I have been well aware of the battle taking place within the Church.”

Livingstone appears on a list of current members of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Australia, where a profile says she is a Member of the Parish Council at St Kevin’s Catholic Church in Geebung, Brisbane. Should she have declared her interest?

Where’s Rudd’s allegiance? Bugger the constant leadership speculation and queries over the cost of international flights, the real issue currently dominating Kevin Rudd’s electorate of Griffith is the footy finals this weekend and the fact that Rudd’s allegiance lies with the wrong team.

As our tipster writes: “Morningside AFL, a struggling football club in Rudd’s electorate (in fact just down the road from his office) is going for an unprecedented third premiership in a row on Sunday against the well funded and corporately supported club the Northern Territory. Most Morningside players are paid not much more than petrol money and a pittance in comparison with the silver tails of the NT. And guess which team Rudd has chosen to back? Yep, that’s right the rich club from outside his own electorate!”

Apparently club members are bemused but not unsurprised given Rudd has publicly supported the NT team when it was first started back in 2009 (and he was still PM) when he became patron of the team. “He had better hope that the NT lose!” says our footy insider.

Peter Fray

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