“Questions to answer”, apparently. So Julia Gillard strode from her office yesterday at 1.10pm, grim-faced, a little drawn, ready for battle with the press gallery, who had crammed into Parliament’s Blue Room, the aptly-named ministerial press conference venue. The strategy was simple: pre-empt the impact of the opposition’s much-trumpeted “grilling” of the Prime Minister over the AWU non-scandal, which had already been deflated by Bruce Wilson’s weekend remarks.
As time went on, though, it also occasionally seemed as though the Prime Minister had another goal. For so long confronted with vague claims about nebulous wrongdoing without any specific charges, as well as frequent misreporting, accidental or otherwise, of what happened, it seemed as though this was as much about Gillard directly hitting back at her tormentors as about presenting the opportunity to grill her. In this way, it often seemed as though it was journalists in the firing line, not the Prime Minister.