IT was something of a shock to read Piers Akerman in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph this week outlining how Kevin Rudd helped devise a “rancid turd” strategy in the 1995 Queensland state election to demonise the Coalition on health.
It was even more of a shock when he revealed that Wayne Sanderson, an ABC journalist at the time, claimed this was told to him by a “senior campaign official” within the ALP.
I can reveal without a shadow of doubt the identity of that official. It is someone I have known and trusted for years. As George Bush senior once said: “I am that man.”
At the time, I was press secretary to then Queensland health minister Jim Elder, so while I had a pretty busy election in that role, I was well down the pecking order of campaign officials. Still, Sanderson wouldn’t be the first journalist to paint his sources as being more important than they actually are.
It wasn't Kevin, it was me - Andrew Fraser, The Australian
There are a number of questions that could be asked about this remarkable article. For instance, what was George Bush senior doing acting as a senior campaign official for the ALP in 1995 in the first place? He may have been a little disappointed after losing the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, but that was no reason for him to take up a job as a minor public official in a relatively unimportant nation halfway across the world with little to do with the international situation at large. And why does Fraser claim that George Bush is less important than Sanderson makes him out to be? I mean, he was - and, for I'd imagine, still is - the ex-President of the USA. That's pretty bloody important! And, above all, why did Piers Akerman want to claim the 'rancid turd' strategy was devised by Kevin Rudd when he overlooked such an obvious scoop (ie, Republican ex-President of the US being an official in the ALP)?
It really makes you wonder at the state of political reporting in our state and national newspapers, doesn't it.