Give us a break, Joe Hockey.

After a highly damaging costs decision for his partly successful defamation suit against Fairfax, Hockey has portrayed himself as the little guy who was pushed too far.

“Someone has to stand up to the bullies, and I chose to do that,” Hockey said today. “I will not be bullied by anyone.”

Yesterday, he couched it in equally melodramatic terms, saying he had stood up to “malicious people intent on vilifying Australians who choose to serve in public office to make their country a better place”. And he had a swipe at Fairfax, referring to the company’s tagline on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age: “They are clearly not ‘Independent. Always'”.

Hockey has certainly changed his tune since two years ago, when he was happy to tweet a Fairfax story about a proposal by an ad agency to offer access to then-prime minister Kevin Rudd. No complaints about “malicious intent” or lack of independence then from Hockey — just delight in being able to dish out what he himself couldn’t take when the same scrutiny was focused on him.

As for being “bullied” — Hockey has the mega-platform of federal Parliament, where he can say virtually anything he likes, true or false, without fear of being sued. He’s a senior government minister who can summon an entire press pack at will to hear what he has to say. He’s the Treasurer of Australia, whose words move markets, shape consumer confidence and affect business investment decisions.

You don’t look much like a victim of bullying to us, Joe. Quit pretending to be one.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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