An angry Prime Minister Julia Gillard has condemned “offensive insinuations” by the Opposition about her involvement in events surrounding the Australia Day protest at The Lobby restaurant in Canberra.
At a press conference in Melbourne, Gillard said a member of her staff, Tony Hodges, acted without authorisation in providing information to Kim Sattler about Abbott’s whereabouts, describing his behaviour as “an error of judgement”.
Gillard said Hodges did not incite violence but suggested to the protesters that they might like to have someone in attendance in case Abbott made further comments to the media at the restaurant.
She repeatedly said she was angry about the derailment of the presentation of medals to emergency management workers for whom the day was a significant “life event”.
Questioned about what she and Abbott discussed in the back of the car on the way to The Lodge, Gillard said she invited Abbott inside in case he wanted “a glass of water” but he declined and said he preferred to be taken straight back to Parliament House.
She said she found the insinuations made by Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne “deeply offensive”. It was typical of Abbott’s “negativity” and “his tendency to go too far”.
- Listen to Gillard’s press conference (17m)