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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Premier’s secret Women

Media Release

Her Majesty’s Shadow Attorney General
Sunday, 22 January 2006

FOI request submitted to access Premier’s secret Women’s Weekly documents

The State Liberal Team has today submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Premier and his Office in an attempt to uncover the secret dealings that he or his advisers may have had with PBL, part owner of Betfair, over a puff-piece to appear in the next edition of the Women’s Weekly to be released tomorrow.

Shadow Attorney General Hon Michael Hodgman QC said that the Women’s Weekly puff-piece on Premier Lennon had all the scent of cronyism with the Premier blankly and arrogantly refusing to release any details about how the article came to being.

“This secretive and arrogant Premier is refusing to release any correspondence he or his advisers had with PBL or with Women’s Weekly management about this article, giving the notion of secret dealing a great amount of credibility,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Is it that Women’s Weekly initiated this puff-piece or is it that the Premier or his advisers saw the positive impact that such an article had upon former NSW Premier Bob Carr, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke or former ALP Opposition Leader Mark Latham and decided he wanted to get one himself in the lead up to the State Election.

“The latter situation is very likely. A puff-piece in the Women’s Weekly, after all, would be an ideal way for Premier Lennon to attempt to soften his notorious bully-boy, arrogant image amongst the Tasmanian electorate.

“If he really believes that he has nothing to fear over his Women’s Weekly dealings, then he clearly would have nothing to hide. He could simply release all relevant correspondence.

“But the Premier has chosen not to go down this track. He is giving the public the distinct impression that he fears being caught out on an issue of cronyism, just as he got caught out over the Crown Casino suite scandal.

“That is why the State Liberal Team are forced to submit a formal freedom of information request to the Premier seeking all correspondence he or his advisers have had with PBL or Women’s Weekly management at ACP Magazines. (text of request below)

“Even in the unlikely event of this secretive Premier releasing all documents, as he will go to all lengths to exempt documents from release, we will still be unable to get to the bottom of this serious matter.

“We will still not have access to important phone records nor will we know what discussions the Premier had at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival or in the lofty heights of the Crown Casino tower.

“The only way we can gain this information is if Premier Lennon decides to release the details off his own bat, a very unlikely situation given his track record of appalling and arrogant secrecy,” Mr Hodgman said.

For more information, please contact:
Nick Proud 0408 538 126


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