MFAT leak too convenient

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 am, July 23rd, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: australian politics, polls - Tags: , ,

The Australian pollsters were out quick and fast on the weekend with the first state of the parties polls which reflected two opposing results with, on the one hand, the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition neck and neck and on the other, Labor holding a slight lead over their rivals. This lead was holding so no doubt the Coalition were in need of something sensational to break Labor’s stride.

And it came, apparently courtesy of NZ Foreign Affairs. Apart from this being a huge coincidence, why would MFAT feel it needed to interfere in the Australian election by leaking to the Australian media? I’ve been accused of conspiracy theories in the past but it seems all too convenient that this was some leak out of Lambton Quay or the Embassy in Canberra.

The Coalition needed a circuit breaker to help them given it’s taken six days to get their campaign HQ up and running and journalists are having a job tracking down Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s movements. So how to throw a spanner into Labor’s wheels? Do we see this tool in the hands of the now infamous Crosby Textor?

We have heard they were behind the campaigns of the conservatives in Australia and New Zealand as well as the successful mayoral bid of Boris Johnson in London. It is said they continue to offer advice to the NZ government. Wouldn’t it therefore suit their ends of having a centre-right government re-elected in Australia to use any information which fell into their hands on this side of the Tasman to achieve this end?

Maybe I am just a conspiracy theorist but it sure does seem funny that this little gem should emerge to throw doubt into ALP support at this convenient time.

– Steve

16 comments on “MFAT leak too convenient”

  1. Juan Manuel Santos 1

    It won’t be Crosby Textor or any other silly conspiracy theory. The most likely source of the leak is the minister’s office, where any briefing to the minister would have been sent.

    Easy to imagine some National Party staffer getting it into his sweaty paws and not being able to resist passing it to a tory mate in Australia to have a look. Not far from there to it turning up on the front page of The Australian.

    If I were Labour I’d be asking questions in that direction.

    • Carol 1.1

      Already happening:

      Last night Labour leader Phil Goff, who is a former minister of foreign affairs and trade, called for an inquiry into the apparent leak.

      He described it as “a very serious situation”.

      “From some quarters, there will be a suspicion that `this is a highly political matter so was this deliberately leaked?”‘ Mr Goff said.

      “This is, advertently or inadvertently, New Zealand interfering in the [Australian] election campaign because they’re leaking information that is going to become part of that campaign debate and propaganda.”

      A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key said it appeared that a cable had found its way into the public domain.

      “MFAT is looking into that situation,” the spokeswoman said.

      It is understood questions have been asked about a possible political motivation for the leak from a Right-leaning member of staff in Canberra.

      Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said “there would be a concern if there was a leak”.

      Mr Goff said the cable itself was routine advice.

      “But the confidentiality around them is essential and in this case, it’s on a hugely sensitive topic at a time that couldn’t be more sensitive for the Australian Government.

      “There will be real anger about the fact that this information has been leaked, which is why [Foreign Affairs Minister] Murray McCully really needs to immediately launch an investigation into what happened.”

  2. No, the ruling elites never ever conspire to keep power or regain it again if they lost it. They are all honest people who have our best interest at heart. To even suggest secret machinations from our political and economic masters is crazy. You are indeed a conspiracy theorist, Sir.

  3. Anne 3

    What’s the bet McCully will rule out a need for a formal inquiry, citing confidence in MFAT’s ability to do an in-house investigation without the need to bring in anyone else – or words to that effect. If that proves to be the case then Guest Post’s “conspiracy theory” will start to resemble something close to reality and not just a theory.

  4. tc 4

    Putting our relations with Oz at risk for a small wedge of poilitical opportunism because it favours your idelogical soul brothers is drawing a long bow.

    The Lib’s in Oz make the Nat’s look like card carrying neo nazis as they don’t/can’t do any crazy stuff as Senate will not pass it even if they get in which’s unlikely with Abbott.

    Still if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish even behaves like one….mmmmm.

  5. Culchie Kev 5

    What bothers me about this whole thing is the flippant way John Key fobs this off as just one of those things which happens. It shouldn’t happen and he should not have such a cavalier attitude to this type of thing putting trust and confidence in us at such high risk. If I was in the ALP and assuming they are successful on 31Aug, I’d not be sharing too much with NZ and at the next trans Tasman leaders meeting perhaps their PM can give our shallow PM a damn good dressing down. Wouldn’t that be something to see! He couldn’t handle not being liked especially by his Australian counterpart.
    But it won’t be Crosby/Textor overtly leaking this, but someone in the minister’s office with an understanding of the way leaks can be used and possibly acting on suggestions from the CT strategists.

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    If Clark were still PM, I wouldn’t have wanted to have been the leaker. Instead we have Mr Sloppy, who doesn’t seem to care about much at all.

  7. BLiP 7

    All leaks are good leaks.

  8. graham 8

    Its a bit rich phil complaining about a MFAT leak considering what he did with a private conversation between the us ambasador and don brash.Why didnt he get some one else from labour to moan about it?

    • Olwyn 8.1

      This is rather different since it involves sticking an oar in the affairs of another country.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.2

      No it wasnt the US Ambassador, it was a group of right wing US Senators, in Washington. Brash only got the meeting because it was arranged by our Embassy, who sent a staff member along to facilitate and as was normal he took notes.
      The problem was Brash was a big fat liar. That sort of thing will always get out.
      Of course Brash lied about a whole lot else. And that had to get out in mysterious ways. The guy wasnt suitable for any sort elected office

  9. Anne 9

    @ graham
    The ‘leak’ you’re referring to was not a private conversation between Don Brash and the US
    Ambassador. As Trevor Mallard pointed out after a similar comment at Red Alert:

    “… Don Brash knew there was an MFAT official with a reporting to government brief in the room.”

    You wing-nuts do like to twist the truth to suit your questionable arguments.

    The consensus of opinion at Red Alert seems to be that the leak is likely to have come from the Foreign Minister’s office rather than MFAT. I would add: it might have been the PM’s office which could account for Key’s dismissive attitude.

  10. Zaphod Beeblebrox 10

    If the guy from ‘The Australian’ fesses up his source and it did involve McCully he is stuffed. No one from the Australian Government will ever trust him again. Worse still the guy from ‘The Australian’ may hold onto the information in case he needs to call in a favour. Pretty damaging for a foreign minister to be involved in this sort of stuff.

    Hopefully he is smart enough to cover his tracks!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      The journalist fess up ?
      Never going to happen. he/she would never work in journalism again.

      While its likely to be from McCulleys ‘office’ dont forget the Aussie end.
      There seems to be a battle between Gillards and Rudds ( now out of work )advisors.

      The NZ connection was an easy way of putting something which had a provenance away from the actual source. ie Gillards foreign affairs advisors( who would have told the NZ ers in the first place). They knew it would go straight back to Wellington.

      The reason they were trying to shut down Rudd

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1

        Yeah but someone on our end still had to leak it. That’s the only thing of interest to me. It’s nothing to do with NZ, but someone saw fit to leak it. The target audience for the leak couldn’t have been NZers, so what the hell sort of justification could they have for leaking?

  11. justmeint 11

    Is this going to be a gender election people? That would be a grave mistake I believe. Issues and policies are the important things here, and not who has the sexiest ankles or the prettiest hair colouring!

    It’s not very long ago that the American People voted in their First African American President on a platform of ‘change’. I would guess that non white Americans were delirious when Barack Obama was sworn in as their 44th President, praying for, pleading for and dreaming of great changes that would be of immense benefit to themselves.

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