Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Could the Coalition have sunk this low?

As I wrote last month, "we expect and need to hear the truth from the Opposition."

This morning's Australian details an email sent by Coalition media adviser Peter Phelps to his colleagues on September 8:

"You don't get news stories by trying to change perceptions, you get them by reinforcing stereotypes," said the email, penned by Peter Phelps, media adviser to opposition cabinet secretary Michael Ronaldson.

Stories worth pursuing should cover: "Fat cat public servants not caring about taxpayers, pollies with snouts in the trough, special interest groups getting undeserved handouts from tax taken from hard-working Aussies, a favoured pro-Labor contractor who seems to be getting all the work for a particular job etc," the email said.

"While policy discussions are nice, the simple fact is that in opposition, the majority of our successful news stories are going to be ones which are a little quirky and which draw the attention of journos."

It says more senior Turnbull advisers who later saw the email were "outraged" and moved quickly to inform Mr Turnbull and rebuke its author.

And notes:

Earlier yesterday the opposition attempted to attack the government by revealing that the Department of Veterans Affairs had spent $1.3 million on an executive training retreat and $10,000 subsidising a departmental sports day.

But the attack backfired when Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin revealed that the Howard government spent at least three times more on the events when it was in office.

Has it come to this?

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