Before we get to the meaty bits of this item, let’s consider a couple of facts.
Vicki Campion is a News Corp Australia columnist. Her partner is former and wanna-be future Nats’ leader Barnaby Joyce.
She works for Queensland Liberal National Party federal MP, Llew O’Brien.
Mr O’Brien previously sat as a Nat when in Canberra but took his bat and ball home after his efforts to engineer a challenge by Joyce to current leader Michael McCormack failed earlier this year.
So those are a few key facts. You probably knew all of them already.
What bugs us at The Bug is that News Corp Australia seems to keep forgetting those simple facts and personal linkages. Or it just doesn’t care because only very occasionally does it add them to the end of her column as a disclosure for readers.
We have previously outlined instances in which Ms Campion has used her column – without disclosures — as a sort of newsletter for rogue Nats by making very pointed remarks about the current leadership and senior ranks of the federal Nationals.
Her latest column on Saturday took aim at the Nats’ NSW and federal coalition partners the Liberals, using as a hook the defection of a NSW state National Party MP to the Liberal Party in the wake of the meltdown over koalas by state party leader John Barilaro.
Ms Campion noted that the move by the former Nat, the MP for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, had seen the Liberals steal a seat from the Nats “forever” and was now a Liberal seat even though not a single vote was cast for the Libs at the last NSW election because there was no Liberal candidate.
An interesting enough point to make. But Ms Campion went on to lambast the Libs in general, comparing the party to a thuggish partner in a toxic domestic relationship.
“If the National Party was your best friend, you would be telling her to run a mile from the Liberals,” she wrote.
She detailed instances of the Libs allegedly going MIA when the Nats were under threat by the Shooters Party, and how city-based Liberal MPs are happy to dress up as “five-minute Henry Lawsons in big crisp hats and shiny boots on the odd regional excursion” but do nothing to help save National Party seats.
“Senior Labor and Liberal stalwarts can’t understand why the Nationals allow themselves to be treated like doormats,” she claimed.
She also set about detailing how badly off regional communities are when it comes to infrastructure like communications technologies that city folks take for granted.
Then this: “The reason Barnaby Joyce often sounds like he is interrupting on Sunrise is due to the delay between him speaking and his voice hitting your television. That’s how long it takes for it to get to the Sky Muster satellite 36,000km above the Earth.”
Yet there was no disclosure of her relationship with Joyce.
Ms Campion continued her column by imagining the Nats splitting from the coalition and sitting on the crossbench where they would hold the balance of power in the NSW and federal parliaments.
“They could change any piece of legislation they pleased, and demand their pound of flesh to do so. If a united Nationals did this they would be heard again and people would vote for them because they showed strength,” she said.
All in all it was a call to arms aimed at restless Nats, the kind of rogues who would back a new leader like…. oh, maybe Barnaby Joyce? Or even those who might support a new party or grouping of regional MPs led by someone like…. oh, maybe Barnaby Joyce?
It seems News Corp — the same people behind the Your Right to Know campaign — sees no need for basic disclosures and is quite content to give over hectares of space to someone whose gripes sound very similar to those of someone very close to Ms Campion. Very close.
The Glass House has pondered before whether the Bandana Man – Peter FitzSimons – is one of those precious writers/columnists whose copy is sacrosanct and any sub-editor who dares re-dot one I or re-cross one T in each mighty contribution is quickly shown the door.
We hope not but The Fitz Files often shows some clues.
In last week’s Sun-Herald piece – in one of his rare mentions of his role in the Australian Republican Movement – he finished a sentence with …”but we do need to take it to the next level directly that the Plague recedes a little, Engage!”
Not totally wrong but not totally right either.
And from this past weekend’s column piece in the SMH on Dean Jones’ historic double ton under extreme heat in 1986, a nice little dangling participle: “Dry retching at the end of each over, the Indians graciously allow him to have a runner…”
Peter, if the Nine Entertainment mastheads still have subs, let them do their work.
The Bug recently poked some fun at the number of female reporters on Channel 9’s 6pm Sydney news.
Glass House has been watching the ABC’s 7pm news from the same centre of universe and Aunty is not far behind in going to extremes in righting the gender-inequality injustices of the past.