Laurie Oakes has revealed that Cheryl Kernot and Gareth Evans had an affair in the 1990s, around the time that Kernot gave up the leadership of the Australian Democrats and defected to the ALP.
Kernot was an Australian Democrats senator from 1990, until her resignation and defection in 1997. She was the party’s leader from 1993, until her defection. She went on to win the Queensland seat of Dickson in 1998 but was defeated in 2001.
Gareth Evans was a Labor senator from Victoria from 1978 until 1996. He was a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments between 1983 and 1996, holding a number of portfolios, notably Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1988 until 1996. He moved to the House seat of Holt in 1996, when the ALP went into opposition, and became deputy leader of the ALP.
Oakes reported the Kernot-Evans affair in his weekly column in The Bulletin. The media immediately went into an orgy of hand-wringing about the ethics of publishing details of private lives, although, as the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy pointed out, they still managed to meet their deadlines.
In London, the Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, kicked the story along by demanding that Evans and Kernot explain themselves.
In Europe, John Howard refused to comment on the Kernot-Evans affair.
So did Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, who also worried about the effect it would have on women’s involvement in politics.
- Listen to Simon Crean (43s)
- Listen to John Howard (23s)
- Listen to Natasha Stott Despoja (83s)