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Laurie Oakes Reveals Kernot-Evans Affair; Crean Demands Explanation

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. [Read more…]


Howard Comments On Issues, Incumbency And Leadership In South Australian Election

Following the South Australian election, the Prime Minister, John Howard, was asked about the causes of the close result.

In this extract of an interview with Laurie Oakes on Channel 9’s Sunday, Howard discusses the asylum-seeker issue, Natasha Stott Despoja’s leadership and the advantages of incumbency in what he calls this “less tribal political state”.

Transcript of Prime Minister John Howard’s interview with Laurie Oakes on Channel 9.

OAKES: Well, to politics. What do you make of the cliff-hanger result in South Australia yesterday? [Read more…]


Howard Comments On Crean’s Proposed Parliamentary Reforms

This is an interview with Prime Minister John Howard in which he comments on parliamentary reform proposals offered by Opposition Leader Simon Crean.

Crean proposed a number of reforms, particularly to the role and operation of the Speaker.

Howard was interviewed by Laurie Oakes on Channel 9’s Sunday program.

Transcript of interview by Laurie Oakes with Prime Minister John Howard on Channel 9’s Sunday program.

OAKES:

And of course a year ago you looked as though you were finished too and you came back. No change of leadership in the federal Liberal Party. Does that make you feel pretty cocky as you go into this new session of parliament? [Read more…]


Speaker Neil Andrew Proposes Reforms To Parliament

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Neil Andrew, has proposed a number of reforms to parliamentary debate.

Andrew, who has been Speaker since November 1998, was interviewed by Laurie Oakes on Channel 9’s Sunday program.

Transcript of Neil Andrew interview with Laurie Oakes.

AndrewIntroduction

This coming Wednesday is the centenary of the opening of the first federal parliament, a major moment in Australian history that will be re-enacted at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition buildings. The first Speaker of the House of Representatives was South Australian MP Frederick Holder who represented the seat of Wakefield. By coincidence, the current speaker Neil Andrew is also a South Australian, also from the seat of Wakefield. [Read more…]


Howard and Costello in Conflict as Republic Referendum Hots Up

The battle between monarchists and republicans has taken a new turn as Howard government ministers adopt increasingly belligerent positions for and against the referendum due on November 6.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, issued a major statement to his Bennelong constituents earlier this week outlining his arguments against a republic.

This was followed by a speech from Treasurer Peter Costello that rebutted Howard’s argument point by point. [Read more…]


Abbott And Costello Defamation Action

This is the full text of the Judgement by Mr. Justice Higgins in the Abbott and Costello defamation action against Random House, publishers of “Goodbye, Jerusalem”, by Bob Ellis.

The Hon. Peter Howard Costello and Tanya Pamela Costello v Random House Australia Pty Limited

and

The Hon. Anthony John Abbott and Margaret Veronica Abbott v Random House Australia Pty Limited

[1999]
ACTSC 13
Defamation


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

HIGGINS, J

File nos – Nos. SC 224 & 228 of 1997

No. of paras – 469

CATCHWORDS:

DEFAMATION – Publication of defamatory matter – False allegations of shallow political commitment and lack of chastity – Whether matter capable of conveying alleged imputations – Test of ordinary reasonable reader – Natural and ordinary meaning to apply – Mere speculation of reader not relevant – Whether inferences defamatory in fact – Whether ridicule of plaintiffs’ political commitment defamatory in fact – Whether allegation of lack of chastity defamatory in fact – No requirement for special damage where allegation of unchastity – Standard of middle class morality to apply – Imputations held defamatory.

DEFAMATION – Publication of defamatory matter – True innuendos – Whether extrinsic facts sufficient to convey alleged true innuendos – Innuendos held not to arise.

DEFAMATION – Compensatory damages – Extent of damage to reputation where plaintiff is public figure – Whether damage mitigated by defendant – Extent of injury to feelings – Whether aggravated damages appropriate – Whether defendant’s conduct unjustifiable, improper or lacking bona fides – Aggravated damages awarded.

[Read more…]


Alexander Downer And Peter Costello Win Liberal Party Leadership

Alexander Downer won the leadership of the Liberal Party after challenging John Hewson at a partyroom meeting on May 23, 1994.

Downer defeated Hewson by 43 votes to 36. Peter Costello was elected unopposed as deputy leader, replacing Michael Wooldridge.

Hewson had been leader of the Liberal Party since April 1990. He succeeded Andrew Peacock, following the party’s defeat in that year’s federal election. Hewson led the Liberal Party to defeat in the 1993 election. He survived in office for another year before he succumbed to leadership speculation and called a leadership ballot. [Read more…]


Governor-General Bill Hayden Interviewed By Laurie Oakes

This video of Laurie Oakes interviewing Governor-General Bill Hayden was broadcast in 1989.

I’m not sure of the precise date of the broadcast. It is dated here as June 30 for filing purposes.

Hayden became Governor-General in February 1989, after a 27-year career as a Labor politician.

Elected to the Queensland seat of Oxley in 1961, Hayden became Minister for Social Security in the Whitlam government in 1972. He introduced Medibank, the precursor of the current Medicare, Australia’s first system of universal health insurance. In 1975, he became Treasurer.

Hayden became Leader of the Opposition after the ALP’s defeat in the 1977 federal election. He led the party at the 1980 election, picking up seats but failing to win.

Hayden stood down as leader and was replaced by Bob Hawke on the eve of the 1983 federal election. He served as Foreign Minister in the Hawke government between 1983 and 1988.

Hayden was Governor-General until 1996 when he was replaced by Sir William Deane.

In this interview with Laurie Oakes, Hayden studiously avoids making any political comment on his notorious predecessor, Sir John Kerr, the man who dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975.

  • Watch Hayden interviewed by Oakes (15m)



Sack Call On Liberal Plotters

In May 1989, a well-planned coup toppled John Howard and re-installed Andrew Peacock as leader of the Liberal Party.

The week after the leadership change, the main organisers of the challenge appeared on the ABC’s Four Corners program to explain and gloat about how they overthrew Howard.

John Moore and Wilson Tuckey were the main spokesmen for the plotters. [Read more…]


Peacock Defeats Howard In Surprise Challenge; Nationals Replace Sinclair With Blunt

The Liberal Opposition leader, John Howard, was replaced by Andrew Peacock on May 9, 1989, in a surprise leadership challenge that also led the National Party to replace Ian Sinclair with Charles Blunt.

The challenge to Howard was hatched in almost total secrecy. Peacock defeated Howard by 44 votes to 27.

The week after the leadership change, the anti-Howard plotters appeared in a remarkable Four Corners program on the ABC and detailed how they removed Howard.

Peacock had been leader of the Liberal Party between 1983 and 1985, until he was replaced by John Howard after a misjudged attempt to remove Howard as deputy leader. Howard led the Liberal Party to defeat against the Hawke Labor government in 1987.

Sinclair became leader of the National Party in January 1984, following the retirement of Doug Anthony. First elected to Parliament in 1963, Sinclair had been a minister in the Menzies, Holt, McEwen, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments. [Read more…]