I managed to get Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey to say a few words on video outside court on Wednesday (11/3/15) (as per below) which is a fair effort given he said very little to the media the previous 2 days. Based on what he said I assume he has read what I have written about him in previous posts but is no fan of this site.
Mr Hockey spent Monday and Tuesday telling the Federal Court of Australia how accessible he is and that you do not need to pay him big dollars for an audience. But when I tried to interview him when he left the court he gave me the big FU and asked if I was a journalist.
This raises 2 issues for Mr Hockey. Firstly, his court case where his conduct outside of court differs from what he is telling the judge inside the court. And secondly, the stupidity of it from a pure political viewpoint. Why belittle a member of the public? Maybe he thinks I am one of those poor people who don’t count.
What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is that it doesn’t matter if I wasn’t a journalist because the public have as much right as anybody else to ask politicians questions. And with the rise of social media everyone is a journalist anyhow.
In the video below and I start by asking Mr Hockey the question “Have Fairfax offered to settle, Mr Hockey?”
(Click anywhere on the above video to watch)
I can appreciate Joe Hockey is under extreme pressure but all he had to say was no comment which is exactly what he had said to other journalists Monday and Tuesday when he left court.
I will deal with the court case implications first.
Joe Hockey v Fairfax Media
Mr Hockey is suing Fairfax Media regarding articles they wrote in May last year in their papers and on their websites which were titled “Treasurer for sale: Joe Hockey offers privileged access“ which he says implied he took bribes and was corrupt etc.
I think Mr Hockey has a strong case as there is evidence of malice by Fairfax. He will probably win in court but he has already lost politically. It was a bad move to sue as it puts a focus on political funding which has been shown to be corrupt for a long time and has cost over 10 Liberal politicians their jobs and/or party membership in the last 12 months or so.
I wrote a post in May last year titled “Joe Hockey sues Fairfax for defamation. Who’s his legal adviser, Craig Thomson?” and wrote:
“Didn’t the Liberals learn anything from the Craig Thomson defamation proceedings. If Fairfax Media do not settle and I suspect they will not, then a lot of media attention is going to be on Hockey and his financial dealings for a long time and most likely right up to the next election. A lot of people see the dealings as being dodgy even if they are not illegal. I can’t and most people cannot afford a lazy $22,000 to get a meeting with Hockey or most politicians for that matter.”
“Joe Hockey should have just forgot about it and moved on.” (Click here to read more)
Mr Hockey and his barrister Bruce McClintock SC spent Monday and Tuesday talking about how approachable Mr Hockey is and that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get a meeting with him. They claim he has meetings with Rotary Club members, local Liberal branch members etc. Even people who approach Mr Hockey at the local shopping center can get a meeting with him if he has the time Mr McClintock and Mr Hockey told the court.
Then I approach him on Wednesday and he in effect implies “Your not a journalist so piss off”. So much for the “approachable Joe” image he and his team have been trying to build in court.
I suppose it is fair enough for Joe to question whether or not I am a journalist given most of the country are still questioning whether or not he is a Treasurer.
One thing that stands out to me is the fact that the Labor Party under both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and the Liberals under John Howard all seemed to understand and deal with the media a lot better than the current Liberal Party. They really have no clue and Joe Hockey is one of the worst. He badly needs a new media advisor.
Whenever I contacted Julia Gillard’s or Kevin Rudd’s office they were always professional. Like most journalists I rarely got the answer I wanted but they were professional.
Rule number one, never insult the public because with social media everyone is a roving reporter nowadays and it will be on the net within hours if not minutes as the above proves.
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