Senate estimates week leaves journos and senators foraging like miners, looking for a nugget of a story by grilling senior public servants and ministers from early in the morning until the wee hours, day after day. This week provided them with a huge win after the Australian Federal Police raided the offices of the Australian Workers Union the day before the Registered Organisations Commission and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash were due to appear before the Senate committee. But while most eyes were trained elsewhere, there were more than a few admissions and statistics that were uncovered, with the possibility of more troubling headlines for the government in coming weeks.
DFAT and North Korea letter
On Thursday it was revealed that the "open letter" sent to governments around the world by North Korea only came to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in media reports of its existence. The letter, which Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop passed on to media outlets last week, warned Australia to distance itself from the US, and was received by the minister on October 3 -- two weeks before it was made public. DFAT assistant secretary Graham Fletcher said it was probably an "oversight" that the letter hadn't been shared with the department.