Saturday, December 1, 2012

These Things Can Be Checked, Phillip

IN THE Silly this morning, quality journalist Phillip Coorey writes of our Prime Minister's indomitable spirit and strength of character. That was to be expected, of course. He is, after all, working for Fairfax, where history is as those who record its first draft wish it to be, and nobody on staff knows anyone who votes Liberal, doubts global warming or doesn't appreciate the insistent pressure of a bicycle seat on the back passage.

What comes as somewhat more of a surprise is Coorey's inability to read and comprehend a simple paragraph, which is the charitable interpretation of what he has committed to paper this morning. The less sanguine view would be that Coorey is a shill who places misquotation at the service of his political sympathies.

Let readers decide. Here is Coorey today (with added emphasis):

Senator Brandis argued that because Ms Gillard knew all along the association was to help finance the re-election of union officials Bruce Wilson, who was then Ms Gillard's boyfriend, and his sidekick, Ralph Blewitt, on a platform of workplace safety, she had deliberately misled. He claimed authorities would not have incorporated the association had this been mentioned.

''The document she represented to be true was false,'' he said.

But only two days before, in a speech to the Senate, Senator Brandis said it could be argued that the objects of the association could be interpreted as supporting the election of union officials. ''There might be room for argument about the vagueness of the objects,'' he said.

Well, here is what Brandis actually told the Senate:

Furthermore, the certification provision, section 5 of the Western Australian Associations Incorporation Act, also requires the applicant to verify that the Association has more than five members. Ms Gillard did so. However, the Association, as Ms Gillard well knew, only had two members—Wilson and Blewitt. While there might be room for argument about the vagueness of the objects, there is no vagary about this: Ms Gillard falsely certified the Association to be compliant in respect of its number of members. She knew it was not and, once again, appears to have breached section 170 of the Western Australian Criminal Code.
Notice how Coorey has taken the fragment of a much larger thought, re-punctuated it to form a stand-alone sentence and then deep-sixed everything else.

Is it any wonder Coorey finds so much to admire in Gillard? Neither is capable of telling the truth.

UPDATE: As the Walkley Awards were presented last night, it is timely to consider Article I of your professional journalist's Code of Ethics:

1.  Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts.  Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.  Do your utmost  to give a fair opportunity for reply.
Anyone inclined to file a complaint about Coorey's liberties with the record (and punctuation)  might want to quote that.

MEA CULPA: Due to an outbreak on mental infirmity this item went up with the author of the Silly piece mis-identified. It would be nice to think the Silly had the wrong byline on the column and subsequently changed it, as happened the other day with a Mark Baker article, but there is no proof of that. The appropriate proper nouns have now been changed.

Thanks to Deadman for noting the error.


  1. That. Is. Unbelievable.

  2. The Old and Unimproved DaveDecember 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. The Old and Unimproved DaveDecember 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. From my reading of the byline in The Age, Professor, Phillip Coorey wrote the article you quote.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Sorry, Coorey or Hartcher? Mind-making-up required. And Coorey addressed the Senate, not Brandis?

  7. "Ms Gillard knew all along the association was to help finance the re-election of union officials"

    This appears to be not the case. Mr. Blewitt has stated that an AWU "slush fund" already existed to finance re-election campaigns. The AWU WRA was established to enable the conpirators to issue invoices and receive payments under the AWU banner. The collected funds were intended solely for the benefit of the conspirators.

    The claim that the AWU WRA was to finance the re-election of union officials via another slush fund was a fiction devised by Ms. Gillard to hide, from her S&G Partner's during her exit interview, the true purpose of the fund.

    Disclaimer: Ms. Gillard denies doing anything wrong and she was young and naive and had a broken heart and was shabbily treated by a man who went back to his family and she is a woman.

  8. Phillip Adams once lamented that his little wireless progam preached only to the converted. You could say the same about the whole ABC. Now, once respected and credible newspapers preach not only to the converted but to Labor's diehard, true believers. Facing their demise, Fairfax try to survive by telling the diehards what they want to hear. Who else would believe them? Doctored quotes, and all. And Coorey is going to the Financial Review. That should have executives dancing on boardroom tables. Kitney, Tingle and soon Coorey. Unbelievable. But most of our media are not much better, including TV. It's surreal and a bit scary. Kafka through the looking glass.

    Pedro of Adelaide

  9. Brandis' argument that Gillard's exit interview statements show a state of mind to mislead the WA commissioner at the time she assisted in the creation of the AWU WRA has to confront the fact that para 3(f) of its objects - when read with the principle that all activities incidental to its achievement are also included - arguably (as much perhaps as Brandis' contrary argument) encompasses what Gillard said. Her reference to a 'slush fund' adds nothing, for she clearly meant a fund to elect union officials.

    I find Coorey's piece a deceptive (see 'But only two days before ...') because Brandis sought to deal with para 3(f) in his press conference. That is, Coorey has not tripped him up.

    I think it fair enough that Coorey did not refer to Brandis' reference to section 5 etc, because most of this para was not germane to Coorey's misconceived point.

    Of course, Brandis' point about section 5 seems stronger than the argument noted above. There have been hints that Brandis might have seen Gillard's letter and it might this argument watertight.

  10. Must have been a temporary oversight by the four times Walkely Award winner Mr Coorey. I notice Fairfax have again scooped the awards professor.

    As I am not a journalist and rarely pay any attention to awards for outstanding journalism in this country I wonder if readers could tell me if these Walkely Awards are only for certain types of people. Can conservative journalists for example, enter these awards? What odds would you give them on winning one?

    1. The Walkleys are what you would call “uneven” in their awards. If I am not mistaken they only apply to members of the actors and clowns union anyway. That said, I am not criticising the awards to the non-politico, true investigative journalist Kate McClymont. She deserves all of those she has received (and will receive in the future). Just consider the value of such non-politicos as true investigative journalists into these parliamentary crooks. For all the fifty or so stories about the “Craig Thomson affair” by the politicos like Coorey (and the press gallery are ALL politicos like Coorey) the first single story by McClymont on it blew the case to smithereens and laid bare the extent of both the scams and the coverups by the ALP. McClymont continued what she started and Coorey and others frantically followed.

      Perhaps the Obeid story swamped this as the pick for the award? Perhaps not. In any case my point is that with Hedley Thomas having so much strong competition you just can’t tell if he was denied an award for the Wivenhoe Dam scandal against the Bligh ALP government or that he got the Gold Walkley for his exposure being against the Liberal government on Haneef for political reasons. Going by this years cartoon of the year though, it does make you wonder.

      Oh, having one fake-blond Michael Carlton involved with judging doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

  11. "I'll tell you what. When politicians start comparing journalists to politicians, things are serious." says Laurie Oaks (Gold Walkley Award Winner)

    Laurie would know all about that.

  12. The woman is a sociopath. And I don't say that reservedly Prof, it is my diagnosis.
    The lovey press are just her mesmerized enablers, except for the ones who are also sociopaths.

    1. "The woman is a sociopath."

      I think you may be correct. I hadn't thought about it before but the diagnostic fit is good.

  13. Gillard remains only because pathetic journalists refuse to report what actually happened last week.

    Her performance was full of bluster, obfuscation and lies. Nothing she said was believable. She came very close to losing it completely e.g. she accused Julie Bishop of "misleading and smear" for using the phrase "exit interview" describing the taped interview she had with S&G, when it was Gillard herself who had used the exact same phrase a few days earlier.

    She accused Abbott of sleaze and smear while slandering her old pal Blewitt in a fashion no Prime Minister has ever done. She had a go at Bishop for meeting Blewitt for ten minutes, ignoring the fact she had spent many hours in his company enjoying the illegal gains of the "slush fund" she helped set up.

    None of the above was reported objectively by sycophants like Coorey. They are a disgrace to their profession.

  14. Is a Gillard/McTernan staffer (spit) commenting as The Old and Unimproved Dave?

    'Cause TOaUD seems to me to, while caustic, fairly moderate in his/her comments.

    Can I suggest you check the IP address?

    It's not unknown for the FOE (Forces of Evil) to impersonate a more rational person. Indeed, I've been subject to harassment on more than on occasion. As well as ID theft.

    I'm a stay-at-home-dad, that makes me lesser than the "lessest". Here are a few comments made about me on The Punch (spit):

    "Get back to what you’re good at will you?
    wiping the goo off the babies bottoms."

    “Tasmanian stay at home dad knee deep in nasty nappies: Absent mum unsurprised.”

    I'm sure you can imagine how happily the Sex-Discrimination Commissioner would be to deal with those sexist comments if I was a woman.

    Joel B1

    1. Stay away from "The Punch"...your sort isn't welcome there. They only exist to cheer on labor and other assorted hacks that they agree with. It's also an unsafe medium (hackers), full of devious leftist(is there any other type?).

  15. What's with the blog administrators, Prof?
    On topic, Coorey moving to the AFR ensures I'll never bother with that publication again. How bad do they want it to get?

  16. I saw a press conference yesterday with the assembled Gillard chooks versus. ( and I do mean "versus") Brandis.
    Absolutely unbelievable.
    Some pommy git (outlet unidentified) opens up with a five minute diatribe basically defending Gillard and bagging Brandis and finally get gets to a question.
    Brandis attempts to answer and cops constant interruption from the git.
    Coorey then joins the fray, but, by the time Brandis is finished, it is obvious that neither Coorey nor the git have a clue what they are talking about beyond the talking points provided by McTurdman.
    Compare and contrast the hostile badgering of Branderis with the pandering, apologetic line of "questioning" Gillard gets from the chooks.

    The Irish Lion

  17. Newspapers are dinosaurs.
    So many observers / commentators / bloggers / sidewalk supers say it is a consequence of the social media and the digital age.
    It is because the newspapers....with very rare exceptions...are staffed with partisan opinionated hacks that cannot write.

  18. Looks a lot like The Australian's coverage of their beloved John Howard and his miserable excuses for shooting up Iraq.
    Or The Australian's official position on global warming: they 'support' the theory (in spite of any empirical evidence to the contrary), just in case something bad might happen, and then they've covered their arses.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm no reality-free-zone leftoid, just reminding that most newspapers are somewhat tainted.

  19. I apologise for a second go here, but at least I will be on topic. Coorey rightly says that one of the objects of the association was to ''support and assist union officials and union members who are contributing to the adoption of the aims of the association and its policies'' (it's para 3(f)). And, as a reporter at Brandis' presser hammered home, it presents a difficulty for Brandis' argument that Gillard's exit interview statement shows that she intended to mislead when she created the AWU WRA. Brandis knows this, and he argued that the existence of this fact (of misleading) was supported by other evidence. (At this point, that other evidence is weak, and I hope that he has the letter itself and will drop it into the mix at an opportune time.)

    As I said , Coorey insinuated - quite wrongly - that Brandis had tripped himself up - he had not.

    There was nothing wrong about how Brandis was questioned at the presser. The transcript is a good example of how journos should bring politicians to account. That Gillard is not questioned in this way is not reason to argue that Brandis, or Abbott, or Bishop should not.

    The diatribe of your correspondent 'The Irish Lion' just ignores the issue you raised and adds nothing. This can be passed over, but other comments here suggest that your blog might well become cluttered with this sort of comment. It has made Catallaxy unreadable, and I hope yours does not go the same way.

    It should also be noted that some Fairfax jounos are leading the charge against Gillard. The connection between Mark Baker and Nick Styant-Brown might well be the most important part of the steamroller getting ever closer to Gillard. Grace Collier, in the AFR, is running a line on union corruption that nicely supports Abbott's larger project. (But I can say nothing in defence of the ABC.)

    1. I've been hoping the Financial Review somehow survives the likely bust-up of Fairfax Media but if they are taking Coorey on then I just give up on them. Grace Collier is not a regular columnist and she is so informed that anyone will publish her. If AFR folds, Jennifer Hewett is employable and could go back to News Ltd. The rest will be knocking on various ABC doors. Although News Ltd took Jessica Irvine for their metro papers so nothing would surprise me anymore.

      Pedro of Adelaide

    2. PhillipGeorge(c)2012December 2, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      The minutiae might be imperative for forensic prosecution but this is not a department of public prosecutions.
      Justice should not only be done it should be "seen to be done".
      As an agent of the court it was imperative for Ms Gillard to satisfy herself that five members were party to the incoporating body, that Union Business was not being done, that all facts relevant to the WA Commissioner's duty were volunteered to him or her, without fear or favour, and all commensurate with the "spirit of the law" if not the letter.

      ie. The agent of the Court is defending the Court Process, even before their client(s) x 3. Merely my humblebrag opinion, of course; my peers can make the call.

    3. Rafiki, your third paragraph is spot on. But you'd have to agree that the certainty the press will never apply the same standards to Labor goes a long way to explaining the exasperated, hyperventilated posts of frustrated commenters like The Irish Lion.

      How do you suggest matters can improve? If they can't, then please forgive some occasional tantrums.

    4. Abu - three suggestions: (1) stay on topic, (2) avoid directly personal abuse (v. harsh criticism), and (3) try to make a sensible point.

  20. Oh dear Rofiki .... you seemed to have missed the point by a margin which would visible from space.
    The topic was "Is Coorey a rusted on ALP supporter and does this influence his work?"
    The relative treatment of Brandis (hectoring, interrupting and, above all, advocating) versus his treatment of The Slapper-in-Chief illustrates this.
    Any question he asked of her on Monday was pandering to the point of sycophancy, and the only interruptions comprised "mmmm I see" and "yes PM".
    Prof caught him with his bony pallid fingers in the till of bias, and my post merely added further circumstantial evidence.

    PS The only thing wrong with Catallaxy is a few posters who confuse verbosity for intellect.
    Can you think of any?

    The Irish Lion

    1. Elizabeth B. (Lizzie) is one of the primary offenders

  21. Steve McIntyre is adept at always exposing the pea-and- thimble-tricks of climate alarmists and this concentration on the “slush fund’ might be an intended insertion into the Narrative by Gillard (as indicated on Catallaxy by Cohenite and brc on the last Henry Ergas post).

    The supposed justification of the incorporation on that skerrick which is the fleeting reference to supporting other unionists with like views, is at all odds with the everything else in the application drawn up by Gillard. It would be very interesting to see the original application by the gangster-associates Wilson and Blewitt and check was what added when Gillard got her Socialist Forum template onto it. The fact that they were seeking to contract services even before it was registered shows that far more than re-elections was on foot in their plans. The fact that nothing about that fund shows anything like it being such a re-election vehicle and that everything shows it to be a racket worthy of Jimmy Hoffa indicates that the fluff about re-election is just that.

    Her skills and knowledge of the advantages of such incorporation were kindly exposed by Mike Smith when the minutes of this nearly-proscribed Socialist Forum organisation were revealed the other day. Contracting and escaping personal liability in commercial dealings were major factors given in its favour as a vehicle when the Socialist Forum was advised by the Gillard team at that time.

    How fortunate/unfortunate that the WA official incorporation file has been deep-sixed like it has eh? Imagine if the only effective change had been to insert that fluff about ‘supporting’ others? What price that people could officially call it a blatant vehicle for fraud against the union (the real – and only - Gillard client)? Blewitt and Wilson had no authority at any time as officers of the union to contract anyone using the name of the union without specific authorisation, even if they could do so as individuals without doing so. Gillard knew that as even did the Socialist Forum in her day as the minutes showed seeking authorisation everywhere in those minutes. Gillard also knew AWU rules in minute detail as correspondence shows and with her Socialist Forum incorporation process she would also know to look for them if she didn’t’ know the AWU rules at that time. As individuals they could never use the union name in their association and to use it for trading purposes was against the Act itself. Trading corporations were totally ineligible!

    Gillard was not some arms-length lawyer at any stage.

  22. rafiki,

    para 3 (f) states: ''support and assist union officials and union members who are contributing to the adoption of the aims of the association and its policies''

    Sorry mate, I can't see how that can support Gillard's claims that the fund was for the re-election of union officials, unless of course it's also for the re-election of union members. "Support and assist" doesn't mean re-election to me.

    The statement is misleading because the word "re-election" doesn't appear at all. Precision in language is supposedly the lawyer's stock in trade. If Gillard wanted to convince the regulator that it was a slush (re-election) fund, surely she would have mentioned the word re-election at least once on the document.

    As for the irish lion, I find he makes much more sense than you. Your posts are valuable in the sense that we can witness the tortured logic of the legal class, but his are more easy to understand, to the point and accurate.

    I hope you both keep posting here.

    1. I am talking 'tortured logic of the legal class' because that is what Brandis, Bishop, et al are talking. You may not like it that logic - I do not like it that much - but when this is the frame of reference for assessing Gillard's behaviour, it is appropriate.

      Re 3(b), a court could reason that its scope includes all that is incidental to the achievement of the object. It can be argued (I am not predicting the outcome) in the way the journo who questioned Brandis did.

  23. Apparently it is his final week at the Silly,yayy good riddance to one of Gillards cheerleaders, only 99 more to go..

  24. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 3, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Prof, I thought it was also an Offense to register an incorporated entity under a false and misleading title, regardless of whatever little item concerning possible purposes was hidden somewhere deep within the articles of association. Gillard's choice of title was not exactly true to the 'slush fund' purpose, let alone the more likely, yet completely unstated, purpose of 'laundry facility'. We do know now that in the end some of the money was certainly much in need of dirt removal, even if it originally came out clean and squeaky, due to lawerly clever work, when it was first withdrawn.