And the orchestra began on cue

COMMENT by Barry Tucker                    19 March, 2013

Just over a week ago Liberal commentators began saying the PM, Julia Gillard, would be rolled on Wednesday, 20 March. It’s the eve of that fatal day, and the orchestra began on cue.

In an opinion piece in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald, Political and International Editor Peter Hartcher said senior ministers in the Gillard government are reconsidering their support for the PM, a sign of collapsing confidence at a critical moment. Ministers turn on PM

In an Analysis piece, also on the National Times website, Mr Hartcher writes: “These are the reasons a key Left faction cabinet minister, Mark Butler, and a key Right faction cabinet minister, Bob Carr, are openly telling colleagues they have lost confidence in Gillard. The dam of Gillard support has now been breached.”

In the first of the two stories above, Mr Hartcher writes:

“Both [Carr & Butler] are understood to have developed grave doubts about the Prime Minister’s political judgment and her ability to campaign.”

“A cabinet minister and a key figure in the Labor Left faction, Mark Butler, has told colleagues he is reconsidering his support for Julia Gillard.”

“Asked on Monday to comment on his position, Mr Butler did not deny he was reconsidering his support for the Prime Minister.”

[Note: he did not confirm it, either.]

“Senator Carr … becomes the most senior member of the NSW Right to switch support from Ms Gillard to Mr Rudd.”

Mr Hartcher is a senior political reporter and commentator in Canberra. It’s his business to know what politicians are saying to one another.

But, any reasonable person has the right to expect some proof of what Mr Hartcher has written. The quotes I have selected above are unsourced, unverified and, ultimately, off the mark.

Senator Carr has been busy today denying Mr Hartcher’s story and confirming his support for the PM, at a presser in the US, on ABC RN and elsewhere.

In a Tweet just before 8 am today, Mr Butler wrote:


If Mr Hartcher’s story had any substance to it, you wouldn’t bring on a spill when at least one of the key players was overseas, would you? I think Mr Hartcher should have checked that one fact, at least.

3 thoughts on “And the orchestra began on cue

  1. It seems fairly obvious that Peter Hartcher is making this stuff up, but what it tells me is that all the other Rudd challenge stories that have been circulating for the past several weeks are also bogus. What is also surprising is the temerity that this so-called journalist has in thinking that he can actually get away scott free with this obvious partisan attack on the government.

    Can journalism sink any lower? Yeah, probably.

  2. Another piece of rubbish from a rubbish rag,is it any wonder the likes of Peter Hartcher want no part of truth in MSM.These people are destroying what’s left of any credibility in journalism.A very sad day for Australia Peter,you should hang your head in shame.

  3. Sad indeed. When Hartcher rejoined SMH in 2004 he definitely tilted the political bias of this paper to the right of centre & has been heading further right ever since. He is one reason I stopped buying that paper.

    Cannot believe that a journalist of his supposed calibre would stoop to the level of those in Murdoch rags who interview their keyboards. Did he hope no one would actually ask Bob Carr, which they so rudely did when US Secretary of State John Kerry was taking questions from the media. That was ill-mannered & made Australians look stupid.

    Our media has gone down the toilet.

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