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John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

G'day. John Miner is a Webdiary columnist who's worked both sides of the fence, as journo and media minder for a pollie, in his case Paul Keating. (His Webdiary bio is here.) John emailed:

"I haven't done this exercise for a while, but there are so many double standards being raised in the wake of the Mouse Pack's failure to report the Brogden affair, I thought it worthwhile to take a critical look at some.This version of events appeared on smh.com.au. NOTE: I finished a draft of this before John Brogden went into hospital; I haven't changed my comments on the article."

John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

by John Miner

I've been around long enough to know a proposition

August 30, 2005, SMH

Angela Cuming, a Sun-Herald reporter, was among journalists who encountered John Brogden drinking at the Hilton. This is her version of the night.

I went to the Australian Hotel Association's annual dinner to catch up with colleagues and contacts. [Not really working, then.]

The function was held in a room inside the Hilton Hotel, not at the Marble Bar as has been reported. [I fail to see the importance]

By 9.30pm, the event was winding down. Speeches had been made, a few business cards exchanged, when John Brogden and a few of his staffers walked in.

It was only a day after Bob Carr had resigned and Brogden looked to be in high spirits. Lots of back-slapping and high fives from people in the room.

I didn't speak to Brogden at the official function. [NOTE] I said my goodbyes to a few people, scanned the room and noticed Brogden had already left.

I went downstairs to join colleagues at the Marble Bar for a nightcap before going home. ["Colleagues" now, not "contacts"; definitely not working]

We were surprised when we spotted Brogden, even merrier than when we first saw him, standing among the heaving bodies and clutching a beer. The Opposition Leader was in fine form, working the room like a man on a mission - with every pretty girl catching his eye. Some got a hug or an arm around the shoulders.

A male colleague of mine excused himself to go and chat to Brogden. They stood off to one side of the bar, talking. When I wandered over to join them, I approached Brogden [NOTE who approached whom] with Carr's resignation in the front of my mind. I was hoping to ask him about his chances of winning the next election. But I never quite got that far.

I said: "Hi, John" and started to ask him about his chances of taking western Sydney Labor seats. He then stopped me by raising one hand.

He slipped one arm around the small of my back, leant down and said: "Enough of that. Are you available?" I must have looked startled, as did my colleague.

I stumbled out some reply on the lines of: "No, I have a boyfriend, thanks very much."

Brogden froze. Beer in hand, he looked at me, my colleague, one of his staffers, then back to me. It must have clicked. I wasn't another young girl at the Marble Bar he might try to chat up. I was a newspaper reporter. [Why wasn't she "another young girl at the Marble Bar"? She hadn't spoken to him at the function, hadn't introduced herself as a reporter; she was "a young girl"and she was at the Marble Bar]

He appeared to realise he had made a terrible mistake.

To be fair, I never introduced myself as Angela Cuming, Sun-Herald, but I thought he knew I was with the assembled reporters. [He isn't allowed an assumption, but she is]

He asked his staffer to hold his beer and said he needed to go to the toilet. But he must have high-tailed it out of there. We never saw him again that night. His behaviour, leading up to that event and his comments to me, shocked me and the colleagues I was with.

Here was the Opposition Leader, who had just been dealt the best break of his career with Bob Carr's resignation, carrying on like a young single looking to add a few numbers to his little black book.

We were doubly shocked that his staffers were standing by, drinking with him, and not calling a taxi as they should have done.

I, like every other girl in Sydney, is used to the odd drunken suit throwing out a dodgy pick-up line in a bar on a Friday night. It makes me feel uncomfortable any time, as I believe women have a right to a night out without being harassed. [Who was harassing whom? Who approached whom?]

But when it is a politician with a wife and young child at home, then that really makes my blood boil.

What has upset me is Brogden first claiming the incident took place at the AHA function. It didn't. The AHA event was over and I was with colleagues at a bar, trying to enjoy myself.

Brogden made his remarks to me under the impression I was just a girl at a bar on a Friday night. [Wasn't she? See above]

But I am not his mate. I don't share jokes with him in the corridors of Macquarie Street. [So why should he have recognised her, as she assumed he would?] Nor do I accept Brogden's claim yesterday that his actions were in jest.

I have been around long enough to know when a proposition is a  proposition.

Being drunk is no excuse to make any woman, of any age and in any social situation, feel like I did that night. [Even though "like every other girl in Sydney" she is "used to the odd drunken suit throwing out a dodgy pick-up line in a bar on a Friday night."]


Ms Cuming is a well regarded reporter, but this report represents the application of the egg-beater with the "moral outrage" dial turned up to 11.  And it is curious that Ms Cuming says she is not one of Mr Brogden's mates and still did not introduce herself as a reporter, but merely expected him to be aware of her presence and her job.

Members of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (AJA Division) - as all the Advocate's staff are - commit to a code of ethics and that's a part of it: you should declare who you are and for whom you're working if you want to report what people tell you. Most of us take it seriously, but it can be a judgment call in the situation Ms Cuming describes.

Members also commit to tell the story (when they have obtained it ethically). The question remains: why didn't Angela Cuming or anyone else tell this one earlier? Why did none of her "colleagues" report it? Even if the AHA function were off the record, that function was over, wasn't it? Ms Cuming says so; she says these events happened in a different venue: why were they not reportable? And why were they not reported? Alternatively, if they weren't reportable because the details were not gained ethically, what makes them reportable now?

As for off-the-record functions…I know that they occur - the Placido Domingo speech came out of such an event - but I have never accepted an invitation as a journalist to attend such a thing. The off-the-record rules, often misunderstood by the public, are sacrosanct to members of the MEAA.

One of my former colleagues, Michael Harvey of the Herald-Sun's Canberra bureau, is looking at porridge for contempt of court for refusing to reveal who let him see some documents in 2004 that have already resulted in serious consequences for a public servant.

Even if they got the wrong public servant, Harvey cannot under the Alliance code of ethics tell the court who would have been the right one.

Journalists do go to jail for this principle from time to time. The industry supports them because it's very helpful to all journos for sources to be reminded that they will not be dropped in it, even to the courts.

Not all observe the rules.

The easiest way to avoid ethical dilemma, I believe, is never to accept an invitation to such an event.

But this wasn't such an event. Ms Cuming says so. So why didn't she write it three weeks ago? Why did none of the reporters who witnessed the events write the story then?

Grahame Morris, a former adviser to John Howard and now principal of a p.r. firm, went on television to explain that journalists usually know quite a lot of stories that they don't tell. They all have their favourites and wouldn't dob on them. The relationship is symbiotic.

Mark Riley, a gun reporter, had steam coming out his ears almost visibly, but his riposte was delectable: in the modern press gallery, he said, reporters did not become friends of politicians or their families.

The emphasis was subtle but perceptible, and put Morris in his place: yesterday. Yet Mr Morris's explanation has the virtue of making sense of the failure of reporters who witnessed the events in the Marble Bar to write the story.

Apart from that, Riley might have been expounding a principle long held in America: if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog. It's good advice for both those who report and those reported on.

I feel sorry for Ms Cuming. Her story appears and Mr Brogden, apparently, attempts suicide. That is not her fault. People who attempt suicide are responsible for their own actions.

I feel doubly sorry for her because she wrote, "What has upset me is Brogden first claiming the incident took place at the AHA function." She must have been shattered when the group editor-in-chief of Fairfax's metropolitan newspapers and acting editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Mark Scott, said on smh.com.au today:

When John Brogden confessed to our reporter on Sunday night, confirming on the record his behaviour at that Australian Hotels Association party and his racial slur …

He proceeded with his explanation of how the paper had covered the political story and not the personal, but it makes me wonder which stories he read and how he knows what his paper has published. Certainly Ms Cuming's was personal: it's in the first person.

The one other element of the whole tale that amuses me as much as anything is the assumption underlying all the myth-making that women journalists are vestal virgins.

The Alliance code of ethics must have mistakenly omitted the vow of chastity.

In reality, journalists have their own lives. If they are sexually active, who should be surprised?

I have known female reporters who have had affairs - some casual in the extreme, some serious and long-lasting - with male reporters, superiors in the office, politicians, political staffers, even each other.

So what? They have always seemed to me perfectly capable of negotiating these situations like other mature adults, i.e. sometimes with success

The journalist herself must decide whether it compromises her ability to report on a particular person or field of endeavour, but the suggestion that a political figure, or a rock star or any other person in the public eye, can't try to negotiate something that goes beyond professional acquaintance is, frankly, immature. Because such things do happen.

What remains unexplained is the failure of anyone to write the story.

There has been a view among political reporters that the private can be separated from the political. It's the same as the view - once dominant and still prevalent - among sports reporters that what happens on tour stays on tour.

As various cases of the past two or three years have shown in sport, that's not really tenable.

Perhaps it was the remorseful recognition that they had failed which prompted Sydney's media to respond with the throttles wide open when they were upstaged from Canberra.

It's a question worth further examination, because our democracy depends not only on the behaviour of politicians. The media have a proper role, too.

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re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I haven't read all the commentary on Brogden so I can't really comment on whether I think it is fair or not.

But I read the piece by Angela Cuming yesterday and was puzzled to see what had been headlined as "harassment" appeared to me to be like an annoyance.

In fact my first thought was that Angela had in fact belittled the seriousness of sexual harassment - a serious and nasty thing - by equating it with annoying behaviour. After all, the bloke propositioned her and then took off when rejected ... what more could she ask. I guess she would prefer not to be propositioned, but it happens to us all, male and female - it is only harassment when the propositioned doesn't stop when asked to.

But the thing all the headlines had me wondering ... if Brogden had brazened it out ... insisted his comments were only a joke misunderstood by the hearer - would he have been howled down by the media the way the headlines suggest?

Instead the bloke did the honest thing. He confessed he had been an idiot, acknowledged that he had lost the respect of the public and stepped down.

And it appears, he has been totally lambasted. Is this some good old Aussie - always kick a bloke when he is down attitude or what? Or perhaps the media put the boot in harder to distract from the fact that they didn't report this when it happened?

When I think of the number of Federal politicians who have done equally stupid things, not stepped down and not got half the flack from the media I am puzzled.

How does punishing Brogden further after he has done the right thing promote either democracy or the public interest? Surely the same energy spent going after Ruddock over the immigration bungle of Vivian Alvarez would better promote both.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Reading the facts and the column above as they come to light I believe the reporter was wrong and the paper was even more culpable in actually printing the story.

Moreover the Liberal party is pathetic in using this as an excuse to rid them of a leader that they all of a sudden did not want. Perhaps this should have been the story.

Years ago when I lived in Canberra I would socialise a bit at the National Press Club and at different stages of a Friday night you would see famous media people and politicians and others in various stages of intoxication. There would have been a lot of things better left unsaid as people unwound - including comments made by myself. What the heck. I do not ever recall any of these conversations or incidents being recorded in print or film for the titillation of the public.

Again I believe the paper was wrong to print such an incident.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Note that the smh.com.au Are the media to blame? coverage concentrates on the Tele and doesn't mention their own coverage as analysed here.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

John, you have raised a few valid points, but I would like to make a few comments in response:

1. Journalists are ALWAYS working, even when they are not.

2. Brogden may have not known who she was, but there were plenty of people standing around who were journalists and one can safely assume, he knew it.

3. Plenty of people within his own party had the knives out, so he should have been doubly careful. And some of the rumours that are now circulating about him tend to suggest that he had some previous form, so it seems his enemies only had to keep the antennae up and wait for him to fall over. Mind you, his minders have got a lot of serious questions to answer.

4. It is fair to assume that he did and said lots of other things in front of lots of other people that night and that is just unforgivable for the Leader of the Opposition.

5. The 'mail order bride' quip about Helena Carr was tasteless and unforgivable in my eyes.

6. In the first week that I worked for a politician, I said something off-handed that ended up in the local paper the next week. I'd still claim that I was misquoted, but it taught me a lesson that I have never forgotten.

7. I feel a bit sorry for him. As I said I don't forgive the 'mail order bride' quip, but his career has just been trashed, and I hate to see that happen to anyone.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I agree that Cuming could/should have behaved and reported differently but that in NO way excuses Brodgen's behaviour - he's a (male!) public figure and has to be always on his guard, prompted by others or not. Sorry, no excuses for pollies who think it is still the sixties and sexist behaviour is OK - it isn't.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

This is very interesting indeed. My initial response was that Brogden was an idiot for getting drunk with reporters. I was never certain whether he genuinely intended to pick one of them up or was merely being playful, but from this account- given that he was putting his arm around every female there- it suggests to me he may have had no such intention at all. Some men merely become flirty when they are in good spirits, or when they are drunk (myself included) and it doesn't imply any genuine interest.

His "Mail-order bride" line was appalling but in the context of a night out, it makes some sense. Some women enjoy listening to men say outrageous things and insult other women. I know that sounds appalling but it's part of the way people interact. It's a display of loosening inhibitions, which makes it attractive.

On balance, I agree with Carr's assessment that the man is a light-weight mediocrity. I also think that it is not his fault. I don't agree that he has no "character" but I think he ought not to be leader of a political party. He simply can't afford to do this kind of thing. If you want the freedom to be obnoxious, speak your mind or be a sleaze, then you can do something else. I'm quite certain that even at my young age, there is enough on record to rule out a political leadership but that doesn't concern me.

Politicians are grown up and disciplined from birth. If Brogden was one of those - and he sure looks as if he is - then it might be in his own best interests if he rebelled against his upbringing. I'll hazard a guess and say that his suicide attempt was a long-time coming, as a result of pressures and expectations heaped upon him by others, rather than as any direct reaction to either the loss of the leadership or marital consequences.

I know it's gratuitous to use a suicide attempt to prove a point but I'll make this one; I've been voicing concern about pressures placed upon Young Liberals, to study hard and be ambitious and this strikes me as a cautionary tale. Whilst I have no way whatsoever of knowing the reasons why he did this, I do know that if people are put under too much pressure to perform, even though it is perhaps not really in them, they can snap.

I know Brogden listed the leader of the Young Liberal movement, whoever he is, as one of those that helped get this story public, which speaks to me of a culture of ruthless ambition, which should be of concern to the Liberal party, as well as to all Australians my age, who may well have to suffer under these people, if they ever finally make it in to government.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Maybe John Brogden looked into the mirror and simply didn't like what he saw.

Margo: Or what he'd become, or felt forced to become? And I wonder how many people would be willing to fogo ANY space where they trusted they were not being watched by the media in order to serve the Australian people as their elected representatives. What sort of politicians would we get if that was true. Or is it becoming true before our eyes?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I keep waiting to hear/read the comparisons with WA Lib Noel Crichton Brown who also made suggestive remarks to a journo which were also reported by someone else other the journo who felt that the remarks were 'off the record' - don't recall that this incident did much to stem his political influence.

Margo: Hi Jenny. Funny you should mention that. I was the journo who finally reported that remark, in the Sydney Morning Herald. That report triggered his political demise. Brings back memories...

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

My young bloke just got home from uni and mentioned he just found out what John Brogden said and suggested. He also mentioned that alcohol appears to get people to tell the truth. vino veritas. He then mentioned would it not be best to get all politicians to get pissed before they went into parliament, at least we may get the truth out of them.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Fault, if anyone is at fault in this sad turn of events, also lies outside the media. Bob Carr's rage yesterday was today replaced with the sort of self serving backtracking that makes me ill.

Does know one actually stop and think what they do and say anymore?

Has the fast pace of modern life made us ill consider what we say and do?

Did Brogden think to not drink with journos?

Did Cuming actually think about what she was writing, and the questions it would raise about her motives in going to print?

And did Carr think about the consequences of what he said yesterday? Sure, he and his wife had a perfect right to be angry, but the sort of language he used was right over the top.

Brogden is guilty of being stupid, nothing more in my book. The pack of barracuda engaged in the current frenzy, on either side of the journalistic divide - what are they guilty of?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I hope John Brogden makes a full recovery and wish him well for the future. End of story.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Russell, which bit of Brogden's behaviour as described by Angela Cuming did you consider to be sixties and sexist?

The whole thing sounded pretty normal to me. Maybe inappropriate but not sexist or more importantly harassment.

I am not defending Brogden's comments about Helen Carr, they were inexcusable. Getting drunk was pretty stupid (and obviously a factor in the racist remark he made) but in and of itself, not a hanging offence.

What I object to is that Angela's story appears to be an opportunity for a journalist to make news out of an event because of the Helena Carr angle.

Obviously she didn't think it was that important at the time because she:

1. Didn't report it as news at the time
2. Didn't file a complaint with anyone

And at the bottom - carrying on like this was some form of sexual harrassment seriously belittles the problems faced by men and women who are or have been victims of real sexual harassment.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Steve Turbit, John Brogden not being so far ahead that it is not all over bar the shouting, says enough about him as a potential leader at the moment. If the opposition did not even bother to turn up the NSW State Government still should be getting the election thrashing they richly deserve.

The media has been extremely harsh on the man. I think many people have committed much worse sins than John Brogden. I would be shocked to find out that half the country has not at least once in their lives made a complete goose of him/herself at a Christmas party etc.

John Brogden can one day recover from this and go on to become a much better person and a potential leader. The Australian public likes to see every tall poppy fail at least once. I think they consider this to be the making or breaking of a real political leader.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

The hypocrisy of the ALP and The Usual Suspects among the bourgeoise left was raised from typical to nauseating yesterday as Anne Summers was wheeled out from the "It's Time" Sunshine Home for Retired Relevancy.

A spokeswomyn, Jenny MacKlin, backed up Ms. Summer's claims. In a surprising burst of sanctimony, windbaggery, pomposity, and hypocrisy, Kim Beazley commented also. His commentary is expected to wind-up in 2009. We will be the first to report his devastating findings.

Gough "I'm not having those Vietnamese Balts" Whitlam and "Pansy" Paul - "The Perfumed Gigolo" - is expected to introduce Bob Hawke at today's inaugural "Curry Muncher Lectures" where he will repeat his 1973 advice to Israel after it was invaded once-again by Arab nations, "A-Bomb the Fuckers!"

Mark Latham is snubbing the event saying they were all just "arse-lickers" and that Anne Summers was a "skanky ho!"

Margo: Hi Noelene. Anyone feel like pulling together the media quotes of the "usual suspects" journos go to for comment at such times? I've had professional experience in this field, and it's fraught, very fraught. Those who'd like to review my views and Webdiarist's comments during a previous blow-up about the boundaries between public and private in the area of journos and politicians see Webdiary's wrap-up of its coverage of the Kernot/Oakes affair at An affair to remember.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I have to agree and disagree with Michelle on a couple of things.

One is that a man in a bar asking if a woman is available has nothing to do with the calendar. It has always been (since bars were created anyway) and will always be so. From what Cumings described there is nothing sexist or relating to harassment at all. It is normal activity in a bar. It's a big part of why people go to public bars, to find sex or a partner.

To pretend we are above such a mild proposition is naive as we have all done it or wished we had the guts to do so, both male and female. Now or when we were younger.

The reference to the sixties also is somewhat ridiculous as the sixties were not as the media would have subsequent generations believe. There are other periods in history where sexual freedom and aggression is much more prevalent. Now is such a time and if you don't think so get out to bars in late evening and watch.

Disagreeing with Michelle is about Mr Brogden being honest. If you add the proviso, "only because he was caught, revealed and there was much more to expose" then I would agree. But he only admitted to a small part of what is understood to have been a long story rather than a one off. He was not honest at all, just admitting what he knew to be public already.

The only crime or mistake in politics is getting caught and he did.

I also note Noelene has attacked Labor for their reaction. In fact it was the Liberal colleagues of Mr Brogden who revealed all and it is they that pursued it, not Labor. Mr Brogden has even said as much.

Apart from those points it is indeed sickening to hear the platitudes and hat tipping going on today for a man they all hung out to dry the day before. And had more ready to go. Hypocrites, given most of them have done exactly the same and will do it again tomorrow.

Above all though Mr Brogden created the problem himself. Whether the 'other' episodes constitute sexual harasment or not he was blatantly flouting his relationship with his wife and children and to me that is the crime.

One other comment. Suicide is something most people shrink from and think it is improper to talk about it except as gossip in whispers.

It is not, it is common and so many people actually do succeed on a daily basis with no press coverage, no thought from governments who contribute to the declining mental health and living standards and most of all, no regret from the public. The unknown civilians.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

As a True Believer and confirmed Labor supporter, John Brogden has my full sympathy in this awful calamity in his political life. Angela Cuming has been precious beyond all belief. A smart retort to Brogden's innocuous question should have put an end to his silly request and end to this story. The Carr's have also been most ungracious in their replies to Brogden's crass remark.

I'm an admirer of Helena but not of Bob and I thought his unforgiving attitude demonstrated he still has the capacity to put the knife in while now out of office. A decent man has nearly been destroyed by a fairly tame incident after a few drinks. He didn't deserve it. However his replacement, another very decent chap from the Liberal right is bound to be what the Coaltion always wanted. Brogden was merely marking time and with Labor and his own party out to get him he had no chance of surviving.

I hope he fully recovers and revives his parlaimentary career.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

John Brogden made a mistake; he did the right thing. This should now be the end of the story.

Any further alleged misdeeds published now reflect more on the people making the allegations.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I don't believe that Brogden should be supported, other than he came out and admitted what had occurred. If we are at the stage where we are still prepared to accept people without ethics to run our country, then we are getting into a very sad state.

It is irrelevant as to what has happened in the past, but if someone is not prepared to be ethical in their representation of the people (tongue in cheek), then we will continue to lose our way.

After all, wouldn't the best impression to give to those you wish to lead, instead of being out boozing, be at home with his family.

What's so hard about concentrating on your family. What about them, how must they feel. Bet he didn't think about that before he threw his arm around someone, or racially slurred a lovely lady, whose husband I wouldn't vote for.

As to the media, well they are just a part of the same thing, and they are ethical when it suits. How often do we actually get a balanced report when it relates to important directions for this country. Even the journos know what side they are writing for. (Please, don't get your feathers too ruffled.)

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Ross, you are right. I should have added - lying about what he said was inexcusable as well.

When I said "honest" I probably really mean that he was at least prepared to admit the truth and pay the price.

But certainly if he said that he didn't harass Ms Cuming (did he anyone?), then on her own account, he did speak honestly.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Given the successful takeover of the state Liberal Party Council by the Christian right, and their stated antipathy to Brogden's centralist position on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, the timing of the emergence of this story of political stupidity and arrogance is interesting to say the least.

Where does Denham sit in the affections of the Christian Right? At prayer meetings every morning or tambourine playing with Pete (not an ambitious bone) Costello at Hillsong?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I think this is amazing. I swear like a trucky and say outrageous and sometimes over the top stuff, as does almost everyone I know, and we are treated like lepers and criminals.

Was Brogden guilty of defending the right to go and blow up Iraq? As a solid member of the Libs I expect he is, so why not go after him for that rather than revolting and racist language?

As a member of the libs he supported the locking up of children and the torment they suffered right under his nose.

Whitlam said he "didn't want those f...g Vietnamese balts here", but the records recently released via a Senate report show that he immediately said all the students in Australia could get their parents out and uplifted nearly 300 orphan babies.

Latham said Bush was dangerous and incompetent - was he wrong in his assessment? No. What he said to Janet Albrechtson was revolting, but really, reading Janet's rants drive me to similar language. Importantly, Latham didn't want to murder Iraqis and said so loud and often. He was the first to apologise to the parents who didn't throw their kids and tried to demand that weasel Christopher Pyne do the same - he never did.

If we want to hang people out for their language why not Howard and Ruddock, Ellison and Vanstone and others who have demonised and vilified refugees as illegals and criminals for years.

The big problem as I see it is the sheer racism of Brogden's remark. The statement that because she is Asian by birth she is lesser, someone no white person could marry.

Like Vivian Alvarez was a sex slave only because she was Asian by birth.

How many people here really think that calling Helena Carr a mail order bride is worse than what happened to Vivian Alvarez or Cornelia, the lies over Iraq that caused a massacre, the premature leaving of Afghanistan which left a tragedy after killing thousands, or the locking up of 37,600 people in six years even though they had never committed a crime?

Let the punishment fit the crime. Brogden is clearly unfit to be the leader of anything, but where does that leave Vanstone, Howard and Ruddock, who did things thousands of times worse?

Mrs Carr needs the apologies - she was a gracious and beautiful lady in my book.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

What do non-Asian Australians really think of the Asian women? Didn’t the Authority (I cannot remember which QLD State/Federal Government department it was) assume Vivian Alvarez Solon to be a sex worker before she was deported?

I, a youngish Asian female, receive marriage proposals from senior citizens at bus stops while waiting.

Margo: Hi Suehyun. Welcome to Webidary! Good point. I haven't heard of anyone in DIMIA resigning over that one, and that bit of racist stereoptyping caused a whole lot more damage to Vivian than Brogden's mere words did to Mrs Carr. Where are the Royal Commissions, John Howard and Peter Beattie? And still no heads rolled - still!

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Did Brogden act like a moron? You bet. Is this unforgivable? No way. I'm a leftie and I was very impressed by the fact that he resigned when the story went public. At least he did the right thing in the end. I can definitely respect that.

I really wish I knew when everything a pollie said or did became fair game. I'm sure there are a gazillion stories out there about pollies acting innapropriately. I don't really think it constitutes news.

I think Marilyn has a point. How is Brogden's behaviour more a sign of bad leadership than the whole children overboard disaster.

(OK, before everyone over on the right jumps down my throat about this I'm willing to concede that this is an old debate and really don't want to start another Webdiary debate about this - I'm just being rhetorical. If it makes you happy insert into my sentence any stupid dumb thing that someone from the left has done. One of my personal favourites was Whitlam's inability to act when East Timor was invaded, but really, whatever makes you happy).

I think that pollies should be held to a high standard of behaviour, but it isn't big to me if they don't meet those standards. It is big news if they lead and run the state/country badly.

Can we equate bad leadership with bad personal behaviour? I'm not sure that we can.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Kim Johnston, Brogden was not centrist, no matter what his stated policies were once he was Opposition leader. If you check the NSW Young Libs presidencies from 1991 to 2000, and check the background, you will find he was the most moderate before the right took over in 2001, however he was far from centrist at that point anyway.

The Young Libs were so left (for the Young Libs) that they had Margo go down and speak to them. (Nothing against you personally, but you and the Young Libs sounds kind of strange together, doesn't it, at one of the YL council meetings?)

Margo: Actually no, not to me anyway. The other two panellists to address the delegates on the topic of cross media laws were the then corporate affairs journo for News Limited, as I recall, and none other than Professor David Flint. The diversity of views on the topic were expressed in short speeches to the delegates, after which questions were asked and detailed debate ensued. The three panelists shook hands warmly at the end of it. I thought the policy debate process organised for the council meeting represented the essence of Menzies' Liberal Party, not its antithesis.

And yes, the right has taken over, at least from below. However, considering the 'wets' stated views were actually to the left of federal Labor's policy, it's pretty understandable why.

And why do people find Christian politicians so scary? In terms of alignment, atheism or gnosticsm plays as much of an affect as any religion on a person's identity, ethics and morals. Just because they have stayed out of politics so long, doesn't mean the bogey man is now out of the cage and coming to get you. It simply means that they are getting themselves heard (as the largest religious segment in the country).

By the by, I've never been to Hillsong, actually. Just before someone asked.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Two good letters in today's SMH:

"John Brogden should have only called Helena Carr an "arse licker" or "skanky ho", and instead of groping someone he should have just broken their arm. But then he had to go and take things too far.

P S, Templestowe (Vic)"


"I am sick and tired of reading that women feel they are being harassed when propositioned in a bar. Perhaps Angela Cuming ("I've been around long enough to know a proposition", Herald, August 30) could enlighten men as to precisely where it is acceptable to proposition someone.

A B, Cromer Heights"

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

John Brogden falling on his sword probably had little directly to do with the pub incident. It was more about the leadership of the NSW Liberal Party and it is the latest though most spectacular and potentially tragic instance of what been going on in the party since at least before Kerry Chikarovski's departure.

Unlike Labor, who tends to brawl at conferences for all to see, the Liberal Party is renowned at conducting its blood-letting away from public and media scrutiny, and hence it becomes darker and more bloody, though almost always done with the best silverware in panelled rooms, except when these gentlemen assassins venture into the those exotic regions west of Strathfield Station.

Thus in May last year Bankstown Labor MP Tony Stewart had occasion to refer to a rather unsavoury incident occurring in his electorate at a Punchbowl Liberal Branch meeting involving Bankstown Young Liberals and Liberal MLC David Clarke.

David Clarke is the leader of the newly minted version of the Uglies, the ultra-conservative faction of the NSW Liberals. To understand the flavour of the man one only has to read this interview on the ABC's Religion Report

Since the notorious Robin Askin left NSW politics, State Liberal oppositions and governments have tended to be more moderate than their Federal counterparts. There have been spectacular loose cannons like Terry Metherell, but by and large many State Liberals when in government had a Tweedle Dum-Tweedle Dee relationship with their Right-wing Labor counterparts across the floor, and this was especially embodied in moderates like Bruce Baird and Patricia Forsythe.

If Clarke's faction has its way this will change. Clarke's reputation and that of the organisations and people allegedly connected with him would have the average conspiracy theorist weeping for joy.

Brogden has long been one of the faction's targets and you may not have to look far away to find the origins of the rumours about the pub incident. They are already targeting MP and Brogden's friend John Ryan according to the Green's Lee Rhiannon.

In fact Brogden told the Murdoch press as quoted in the Manly Daily:

"Mr Brogden blamed the federal president of the Young Liberals, Alex Hawke, for undermining his leadership.

He said it was "pretty clear" some Liberals had been working to destabilise him, and called on Mr Hawke, who works for hardline conservative Liberal MP David Clarke, to consider his future.

"One of them has been named in today's media, the federal president of the Young Liberal movement, Alex Hawke, has been named as pushing (efforts to undermine me)," Mr Brogden said.

"He needs to take a long, hard look at himself."

Many of the faction wars'campaigns have a lot of their their main action in the arena of the Young Liberals, presumably so the elders can distance themselves if the stoushes turn even nastier than they have been so far. You can be sure however that the likes of Uncle Tony Abbott and Uncle Nick Minchin are keeping an eye on the kiddies. Perhaps this is some bizarre form of ritual conservative natural selection, some rite of passage that those who are born to rule must endure.

But we all wondered who put the hard word on Barry O'Farrell not to stand, and if it was in fact because he does not have the numbers, what does that say about the composition of the NSW State Liberals to come?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

ALCOHOL. Islam is 100% correct in its denunciation and prohibition of alcohol. It's a poison, and can be found at the centre of most family and street violence. It says more about our society than about John Brogden that "I was pissed" is deemed to be a mitigating circumstance for anything.

INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING is, er, inappropriate. If a so-called political leader can't figure out what's acceptable while mixing with people they know... well the quality of leadership is not high.

SEXUAL ADVENTURISM is part of life, but for a married man it makes me wonder how honest and accountable they are in relation to promises and responsibility.

RACISM. Not necessarily, but certainly offensive, gratuitous, hurtful, and low, low, low.

EVEN SO Mr Brogden had choices. He could have chosen to acknowledge his errors, and apologise sincerely for them (it worked for Bill Clinton, even after initial denials). The Australian public is forgiving of human weakness.

He buckled and crashed. I hope he gets support instead of condemnation from those close to him.

MEDIA Give it a break. How can any politician, who uses media attention in their daily work, really think stupid actions won't be reported, or the consequences of those actions analysed and publicised?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

We live in a new world of political correctness, the language and images created by Paul Keating make Brogden look like a Saint. However, while Keating did get flack for his language from some sources; he also received grins from other quarters. His language was not used as a mechanism to unseat him.

I suppose that the leader of the posse; the Editor of the Daily Telegraph can walk on water. If he can't do this task, then maybe he and his mates should shut up.

It's getting to the stage where we have gone back to "1984" or "Brave New World"; the Thought Police are alive and well.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

The whole thing stinks of 'Schadenfreude', a fantastic word to describe the glee one feels at someone else's misfortune. Possibly one of the ugliest 'Australian values'.

Tell me Margo, is it more exciting for a journo to report a 'feel good' scoop or get the drop on your mates with an 'off the record' pollies comment that leads to his/her downfall?

Media, can't live with it... pass the peanuts.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

John, much as I (definitely) agree with much of what you've said here, I do suspect that a little clearing of the air is in order:

1. The (philosophical) ‘clear’ distinction between ‘facts’ and ‘values’ - which (clearly) underpins many of the journalistic ‘truisms’ you attack here is (now) totally discredited by (mainstream) neuroscience. So, please belabour your (benighted) colleagues with this undoubted fact.

2. However, this does not mean open slather. Instead, what it demands is a much more nuanced ethical code; and I feel that you are (somewhat) close to working within same in most of your criticisms in this piece, albeit you do (seem) to be comfortable within one (genuine) double standard. Because, whilst it is true that a non-intrusive drunken male come-on in such a venue is ‘acceptable’ - such is not the case from a married man - something that you conveniently gloss-over in your piece.

3. And - fair's fair - you (also) totally fail to take into account a junior press gallery figure's response to the feasible implications of same, given that, should it be shrugged-off, her entire career could well be ruined. Just maybe, you should ask yourself this - exactly how much time over the last few weeks did she ‘waste’ sounding out potential witnesses... because, I damn-well would've done the same!

Curious to read your response to these queries.

And, by the way - despite having little time for Brogden as a politician - I truly wish him well as a (fellow) sufferer of mental illness. Let us hope that - like one Jeffrey Kennett - he subsequently translates his (horrible) experiences into public advocacy for the most-prejudiced-against large minority in Australian society...

All the best

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Michael Bremner, I think that we can equate bad leadership with bad behaviour. Leaders are supposed to set the example, they set the standards. When our Leaders take their position they have to understand that they are in essence “role models” and the last thing we need is our Leaders drinking in excess in public, making racist remarks, harassing females and when things get tough trying to commit suicide. It’s as though he has just played out exactly what is happening out there with our youth, except he was a Leader of the Liberal Party. What hope do our young people have when they have those examples to follow and learn from?

I guess I can’t help but wonder why he was chosen in the first instance as he really wasn’t a very good candidate, he was too young and immature and it was obvious. Maybe that is all they had, or maybe he won because he played the game and accepted the culture and the Liberal Party did not want anybody who wasn’t doing exactly what they all were doing!

I feel for Mr. Brogden, I understand his despair, but I am not very happy with him. I wrote to him on numerous occasions in relation to serious allegations that we allege are being covered up and that were causing my children serious psychological distress, neglect and public humiliation and he wouldn’t listen to me, his office also refused to give me an appointment to come in to see him despite numerous written requests and telephone requests. They just don’t care. Look at what humiliation has caused Mr. Brogden to do? I begged him to help my children as they, like him, were depressed and didn’t want to function. He didn’t seem to care. Nobody in politics seems to be required to care; their role seems to be to just manage complaints and just push paper until the complainant tires and goes away and/or loses their mind and commits suicide. It’s like a game that they play.

I believe that the focus of our politicians is elsewhere and that the focus is not on the People but on maintaining their own lifestyle and they do this at the expense of the tax payer and of the people.

The media, well they want to be included in the piss ups and the luncheons so they have to tow the line and watch what they say or else they will be ostracized and bullied. The media also has a lot to answer for as they are failing in their duty of care to the people.

With regard to why John’s Howard’s 'children overboard' affair did not result in him resigning, well it’s because it hasn’t been proven. It will actually never be proven because there is legislation in place that protects politicians from being investigated for moral misconduct so essentially our politicians can do whatever they like, they will always be said to be innocent of moral misconduct no matter what.

The laws need to be changed and we need to get some guidelines and laws on how our leaders are required to act in public and what set of morals they must adhere to. You see that is the problem with all of society, there are no enforceable guidelines or rules, there are no agreed morals or values. You have to leave it all up to the media to decide what to expose them for and they; well they are part of the culture.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

My problem with the coverage of the Brogden issue is that we are constantly being forced to bypass the real issues here. It is easy to blame the media, easy to say well other politicians say equally as stupid and inflammatory remarks, they aren’t forced to resign, easy to say well he’s paid his price so lets leave him alone now. What’s not easy is confronting why a trusted leader of a political party thinks it OK to utter racist remarks and behave in a sexist manner. And having a few too many is not an excuse. I’ve always believed that people who utter these types of remarks are inherently racist, sexist etc. You don’t think of the joke otherwise. I don’t want a racist sexist male running my state.

The following incidents, especially the alleged attempted suicide are horrible and sad, they’re painful for Brogden and his family, but they also reframe how most of us now view his initial repulsive actions. Most reactions after the suicide attempt, and rightly so, were encouraging and supportive of Brogden. All of a sudden he was the little child in the playground with the skinned knee with everyone running around making him feel better. I don’t mean to belittle his suicide attempt or the repercussions of this but can we all see how this has conveniently shifted our attention from his initial actions to one of sympathy and acceptance that he’s paid his dues. I don’t agree with the way he has been hounded but let’s not forget that this man uttered some extremely derogatory remarks that shouldn’t be so easily brushed aside. He’s not just stupid for getting caught or for saying it in front of a room of journalists. He has consciously been racist towards a former colleague and his family. That’s not stupidity, its indicative of his character and personality, indicative of the type of man I don’t want in politics. It offers an insight into some hard, ugly truths about our politicians but also about our society. Do we accept such comments and so easily condone or at least brush them aside?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Marylin: "The big problem as I see it is the sheer racism of Brogden's remark. The statement that because she is Asian by birth she is lesser, someone no white person could marry."

The slur was on Mr Carr, not on his wife.

The implication being that Mr Carr is so unattractive that he cannot find a woman in the whole of Australian to marry him, so he has to import one.
The second bit of the crack, that Carr can now "send her back", implies that Carr was using his wife to make himself look better.

ed Kerri: Good to see you found us, Bai.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Jay White, before you start gloating, you should well know that this far out from an election it is not all over bar the shouting. The state polls were and are pretty much neck and neck. And I don't know which ones you read to come to any other conclusion.

Remember what it was like eight months out from the 2001 Federal election? Howard looked like a shot duck and Beazley was sure to become PM. How quickly times change.

As for it being the media's fault, who fed them all of the ammunition? Contrary to what Piers tried to tell us this morning, it was not the Labor Party; it was your own Tory mates.

I am SO looking forward to John Howard's retirement because the NSW Liberal Party is on the edge of a huge implosion. All it is going to take for complete cannibalism to take over is Howard's departure. I might hate his guts, but I will pay credit where credit's due. John Howard has held you guys together for a long time. He is a brilliant politician if nothing else. You and your "ugly" mates are going to destroy yourselves and I can't wait for it to happen.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Marilyn Shepherd. If anybody really needs to be convinced that political correctness is STILL a vile cancer on our society all they need do is read your disreputable bleating about "racism." To describe Brogden as a "racist" is to spit on the millions who have had to endure REAL racism. You people have made irrelevant words that once had real significance; racism, sexism, and homophobia.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Bryan Law: "MEDIA Give it a break. How can any politician, who uses media attention in their daily work, really think stupid actions won't be reported, or the consequences of those actions analysed and publicised?"

I think your right there. To a large extent that is the rules of politics. The fact is if the public went against the media John Brogden would still have his job. The media does not vote, citizens do.

I feel sorry for John Brogden the same way I would for any person going through a similar public shaming. It must always be remembered that he is not a vile criminal destroying others lives.

For people to blame the media for John Brogden's downfall is a bit over the top though. Compare him to Shane Warne. He is seeking to be in a postion that will effect every person in NSW in many ways. Shane Warne plays cricket and recieves no taxpayer funds.

He is not seeking to be on the Government payroll nor seeking husband or father of the year awards. He does however play good cricket. Why should anything he does outside of the game that is not illegal be subject to every person in Australia's opinions?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Mr Brogden made some unwise remarks and paid the price by resigning. His resignation indeed showed some modicum of dignity and principle - pity he wasn't exhibiting such characteristics previously. His suicide attempt is sad but his decision. Hopefully, now he can receive the professional mental health care he needs.The hypocrisy of the media and his fellow politicians is unfortunately life.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

It's always a good laugh when someone sets themselves up as a champion of morality and then is show to be a hypocrite.

I remember a few weeks ago Brogden was annoucing plans to cut thousands and thousands of jobs in the public service. And now I'm expected to be sympathetic because he has lost his?

Ha! Not likely. And the 'suicide attempt'? Words like "Self-Indulgent" "Melodramatic" and "Cowardly" come to mind.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Michelle "the Great" Grattan has a detailed look at governments and leaks in her opinion piece in the Age yesterday. See 'Government crackdown on leaks bad for democracy' - v worth the read.

Margo: Polly, she's ALWAYS worth a read when she writes on journo relations with pollies. For her latest snapshot, her darkest, see Grattan on gatekeepers and gatecrashers. BTW, did you ever drop her a line?

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

I heard Margo Kingston on the Media Report this morning, and am full of admiration for her stand and her courage in pursuing this "dream" as she expressed it.

All the very best.

Margo: Thanks Chris. Drop by anytime!

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

G'day. Do some journalists take professional values and ethics so seriously that would resign rather than breach them or allow their employer to misrepresent their work? Yes! This is from Crikey's sealed section today (subscription recommended). Hats off to you, Mr West. Wanna write for Webdiary? Tell your story your way here, if you like, and take questions from your readers on why you did it. Whatever you do next, good luck. Someone told me recently that something good always comes to a person who jumps with both feet.

Andrew West vs News Ltd

by Stephen Mayne

With control of over 70% of Australia's newspapers, it is very rare indeed for an Australian journalist to lash out at News Ltd, let alone resign in a huff and publicly criticise Rupert Murdoch's unforgiving outfit. Therefore, Andrew West's decision to twice resign as NSW state political correspondent for The Australian this week is worth exploring in some detail.

There have only been a handful of examples over the years. One of the more notable was the resignation of The Australian's then political correspondent Gary O'Neil in 1980, when a front page story appeared during the Federal election campaign with his byline claiming Bill Hayden was contemplating a wealth tax.

The man who actually wrote the story was Russell Schneider, who is now CEO of Australian Health Insurers Association in Canberra. O'Neil, who rose to be Kim Beazley's most trusted adviser and is now the veteran Crown Casino spindoctor for Kerry Packer, announced his resignation on AM the morning the story appeared, not unlike the way Andrew West rang in to PM last night to briefly discuss his resignation.

It was David Penberthy's misrepresentation to PM of his position that prompted West's public comments. Check out the Penberthy interview here and West's response here.

Penberthy claimed the following:

Well this is the second time that this has happened in less than a day with Andrew West because yesterday he offered his resignation to the editor of The Australian because he knew about the story which appeared in The Sunday Telegraph and failed to write it. So yesterday he was beating up on himself for not putting on his tabloid hairshirt and having a crack at the story and today he's decided to head off in a new direction and chuck it in as some sort of protest against the fact that the story appeared in our paper. So, I'm not entirely sure which direction Andrew West is heading in.

West responded as follows:

Yes I've just heard David Penberthy misrepresent me but I'm not surprised. It is true that I offered my resignation on Monday because I was asked why I had not followed up the unsubstantiated gossip that was published in The Sunday Telegraph. I said, if this is the sort of thing you want me to do I will resign. I did not regret not following that story up. I said, do you want my resignation? My resignation was offered on Monday because I said I wouldn't be doing this kind of reportage. David Penberthy has misrepresented me, but then that is hardly surprising. I mean, if John Brogden was too young to be the leader of a political party I wonder how mature Mr Penberthy is to edit a major, metropolitan newspaper.

The reason that West followed through and resigned again yesterday was because The Australian refused to run his comment piece attacking The Daily Telegraph and included his byline on a front page story containing salacious gossip when his contribution was just one paragraph.

MEAA President Chris Warren has sent this letter to The Australian outlining West's position.

Amanda Meade mentioned West's resignation in today's Media cover story and The Australian belatedly ran his attack on The Daily Telegraph today, albeit briefly and not on its website.


The Alliance, of which I am a member, just sent me the text of its letter to Mitchell. Good stuff! Here it is:

31 August 2005

Chris Mitchell
Editor in Chief, The Australian
News Limited
2 Holt StreetSurry Hills NSW 2010
Via email mitchellc@theaustralian.com.au

Dear Mr Mitchell

Re: Termination of Andrew West

I write in relation to the termination of the employment of Andrew West.As you know, in this morning’s paper, Mr West’s by-line was placed on a story which he did not write and which contained material he had advocated not be published.

He objected to the inclusion of this material because it was unsubstantiated. Indeed, the sole paragraph provided by Mr West to the story was the fourth last par which was taken from a separately commissioned opinion piece he had written which, among other things, decried the use of unsubstantiated sexual gossip.

To add insult to injury, this par was followed immediately after by the exact sort of unsubstantiated sexual gossip Mr West’s original piece had condemned.

In his letter of appointment, the company undertook that in the event that Mr West was asked to write an analysis or opinion piece, he would not be required to express a belief that he did not sincerely hold.

Given this egregious breach of Mr West’s moral rights, his ethical views and the company undertakings, it is not possible for him to continue employment with the company.

Accordingly, his employment is terminated and he is entitled to be paid all salary accrued up to and including today’s date, accrued annual leave entitlements including loading and one week’s pay in lieu of notice.

Please advise us by close of business Thursday that you have arranged to transfer these payments to Mr West’s account.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Warren
Federal Secretary

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Noelene Konstandinitis, so far as I can see Marilyn Shepherd criticised the "sheer racism of Brogden's remark". That it was a racist remark would seem beyond dispute.

Unless you care to dispute it? If so, you could also enlighten us as to what constitutes "real racism". Does someone have to, say, lynch Afro-Americans to qualify as a real racist?

Perhaps racism, in reality, manifests in many forms, including the milder form expressed by Brogden - which however contains within it the seeds of the worst forms of which you're perhaps thinking.

From your misapprehension of what you called Marilyn's "bleating", you go on to yourself bleat intemperately about a "vile cancer on our society" of PC, not to mention debasement of the language by some indeterminate group referred to as "You people".

Noelene, m'dear, may I suggest that PC also manifests in many forms. Yours particularly seems on a hair trigger.

By the way, any thoughts on my critique of your assertion about UNSC 242 on the Robin Cook thread? Please do just say so if you're too busy...

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Yeah, another media beat-up. The vultures swooped in as soon as they could. The masses can be relied on being outraged about sex. Kids in detention and wars of agression are okay, but watch out for sex scandals and interest rate fluctuations. Clinton got impeached basically for receiving a consentual blow job. Bush is safe.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

When newspapers address falling circulations by hiring unethical, immature editors like Penberthy and Paul Armstrong (The West Australian) they risk losing their most precious asset, credibility.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Angela Cuming is being extremely mischievous, if what Brogden did to her was harassment then nearly all men in Australia are guilty. I suppose that is many women now think anyway.

What he did to the other women was perfectly acceptable behaviour between friends. She should be defending him not putting the boot in by omission.

Brogden was stupid but what he should have done was just laughed it off as say “Sorry I was pissed.” The old Bob Hawke did more on his best-behaved nights.

The real story here is how political correctness, especially towards females, has got completely out of hand. Women want equal rights but still expect to be totally protected and treated differently.

If Brogden had punched out two men and called Carr an ugly old bastard no-one would have cared, the problem was that females were involved.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Kristian Adamson wrote: "It's always a good laugh when someone sets themselves up as a champion of morality and then is show to be a hypocrite."

Did he? I don't recall Brogden trumpeting the morality line particularly. Most pollies (on both sides) seemed to spend their time arguing about trains, water, etc.

"I remember a few weeks ago Brogden was annoucing plans to cut thousands and thousands of jobs in the public service. And now I'm expected to be sympathetic because he has lost his?

Ha! Not likely. And the 'suicide attempt'? Words like "Self-Indulgent" "Melodramatic" and "Cowardly" come to mind."

I hope you never have a family-member or friend attempt or actually commit suicide. I've known two. Beyond that, your callousness leaves me simply lost for words, Kristian.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Noelene, you have the weirdest idea of what racism is. Would Brogden said what he did about Helena Carr if she was an Anglo? Would Vivian Alvarez have been deemed a sex slave if she was Anglo?

Calling an Asian woman a "mail-order bride" is gross. Calling woman a mail order bride is sexist.

Get a grip Noelene, all forms of racism are true racism.

For example my grandparents name was Pfeiffer - how much racism do you think they had to endure during a couple of wars? They had to build a 6 foot wall around their house in the end to keep out their fellow Australians.

It mattered not that they were white and blue eyed, they were German and hated, hated with intensity and passion even though they had been in Australia as a family for 100 years.

Don't talk to me about racism.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Noelene, this is an example of despicable racism. Brogden would not have made the tastless comment if Mrs Carr was of anything but Oriental extraction. I have personally encountered this particular thread of racism and it sickens me.

Likewise, Bai, while it was indeed offensive to Bob Carr for the reasons you mentioned, please do not brush over the insult directed at Helena.

The implication is that their marriage had nothing to do with her character- that she is an unfortunate human chattel without command of her own life who could be sold and shipped to whomever had the purchase price.

My father is an Australian (and not an ugly one thanks, certainly not too ugly to find an Australian wife - especially in his youth). My mother is a Filipina. They met while my father was backpacking around Asia in the seventies and my mother was working as teacher. They married because they love and respect each other. They have been happily married for almost thrity years.

Sadly, this 'mail-order-bride' insult is one that my family has encountered many times. Many of my mother's Filipina friends are also married to Australian men and none of them are mail-order-brides. They are all proud hard working women. I dare say there is not one of them who hasn't had to defend their marriage at one time or another against this ferocious allegation and I can attest to how hurtful it is.

I was absolutely livid when I heard what Brogden had said. The offensiveness was only diluted somewhat by the realisation that Mrs Carr's education, business achievements and public contribution leave Brogden falling desperately short.

It is absolutely unacceptable for anyone holding public office to express these views and it is indeed a legitimate news story.

The media could not have forseen Mr Brogden's reaction. One could assume that someone holding such a high public office would be familiar with the nature of the game. As they say, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. It is clear that Brogden is an unfit politician. Better we find out now than after an election.

I want to know why the story was held for almost a month by the Murdoch press and why, when they did decide to make it public, they did it with such vitriol though.

Another noteworthy point. Brogden's first response to these allegations was that it was a grubby ALP spear campaign. However you look at it this whole sorry episode is the making of Brogden, The NSW Libs and, if you are that way inclined, the Murdoch press.

The right has no one to blame for this one but themselves.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

No Sam Richards, the real story here is how Brogden got shafted by his own party (who fanned the media interest) and how Howard also cut him adrift. Funny, the leeway Howard gave Heffernan when he was slandering Kirby. You are either in the purple circle or you are not - Brogden wasn't.

re: John Miner on Brogden's media and Cuming's case

Sam Richards "Angela Cuming is being extremely mischievous, if what Brogden did to her was harassment then nearly all men in Australia are guilty".

I would add to that not only would nearly all males be all guilty none of us would be married. In Australia a precursor to any relationship is usually asking somebody out.

That is unless of course, and dare I say it one chooses the mail order bride option.

Angela Cummings must have found her "boyfriend" by being hit over the head with a club and dragged away. Or maybe it was her doing the hitting and dragging?

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Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 17 hours ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 14 weeks 17 hours ago