Today Nova Peris has had excruciatingly personal correspondence splashed across the media. The NT News claims the Labor Senator used taxpayer funds to help her carry out an extra-marital affair with Olympic medalist Ato Boldon in 2010. To help tell the story, the News Corp-owned scat sheet thought it necessary to publish deeply personal and sexual messages between the alleged lovebirds.

This is not surprising from a tabloid that relies on salacious journalism to sell its papers (think quality yarns such as “Why I stuck a cracker up my clacker”, “Best man left bleeding after being hit in head by flying dildo” and “Catnappers shaved my pussy”). But details of Peris’ personal emails have also been picked up by Fairfax — with both The Age and Sydney Morning Herald featuring this as their top story online this morning:

The story leads with Peris’ alleged unfavourable opinion of fellow Olympian Cathy Freeman, and also includes sexually explicit quotes from the original NT News story.

If Peris did indeed use public funds for personal gain, voters deserve to know about it. But the finer details of her alleged sex life add absolutely nothing to the story. To their credit, the ABC and Guardian Australia have carried the story without the sexual details.

Yes, Nova Peris is an elected representative. No, her personal opinions on Freeman, or the details of her private life, are not in the public interest. It’s the kind of grubby journalism you’d expect from the tabloids. It’s a sad day for journalism when Fairfax follows suit.

Peter Fray

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