(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

After the federal budget last year, Georgie Dent was angry. A writer and executive director of not-for-profit The Parenthood, Dent felt Josh Frydenberg's budget had done nothing for women.

The next day, after firing off an article and a series of tweets, and in between five television interviews, she got a phone call that left her gobsmacked. It was a man at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), calling to tell her she was wrong.

Last week, Network 10's political editor Peter van Onselen aired allegations that the PMO had been backgrounding journalists against Brittany Higgins' partner, suggesting that as a former public servant, he had a vendetta against the Coalition.