Following what was arguably Scott Morrison’s worst ever week as prime minister, it was charitable of Nine to dedicate roughly one third of The Sun-Herald’s front page to first lady Jenny Morrison’s fashion choices.
Filled with praise for “natural and authentic” decisions such as wearing the same outfit twice, the story — from journalist Annie Brown — claims Jenny’s fondness of labels Ginger & Smart and Carla Zampatti at diplomatic events has helped ship dresses. G&S co-founder Genevieve Smart and Zampatti both had glowing words for Morrison.
But is there something more to the story? As #watergate community journalist Ronni Salt discovered, the two featured brands share something more than just appearing at G7 summits and meetings with the Queen: they’re both repped by fashion PR agent Adam Worling, the director of Sydney-based agency AWPR. Worling, as Salt notes, also helped out Brown for a quote a few years back.
It’s unclear whether the Nine story involved Worling — neither the agent nor Brown had returned Crikey’s calls by press time, and other outlets like The Australian have done similar puff pieces in the past. Neither would there be anything untoward about him helping with the piece.
But Nine’s choice to splash the story across the front page of a major metro paper amid devastating fires and just days after the PM’s Angus Taylor/Ensuring Integrity Bill fiascos similarly lacks justification, and raises more than a few questions.
UPDATE: responding to questions from Crikey, Brown said “the story was not pitched to me by Adam Worling or his PR company”, but they provided contact details for the brands when she asked.
“A comment in passing about the clothes Jenny Morrison was wearing selling out came about during a regular catch up with Adam, one of my fashion contacts. I thought that would make a good story and followed up,” Brown said.
“He did not mention Carla Zampatti — I knew Mrs Morrison had worn Carla Zampatti on her recent overseas trip and decided to contact her myself … In terms of timing, the story happened to come up this weekend because that is when I could do it. I had hoped to file it last weekend but couldn’t because I was sick.”
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