Tuesday June 27, 2017
07
Jul

BattleRort


Written by David Marler
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BattleRort  

The #BattleRort Scandal

Tony Abbott has used taxpayer funds to promote his book, Battlelines...

Introduction

     
BattleRort The Minchin Protocol   

Introduction


Mr Glenn Milne first raised the issue of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott using taxpayer funds to travel Australia to promote his book, Battlelines.

The article appeared on The Drum website on 28th July, 2010.
How the taxpayer helped Tony Abbott flog Battlelines 'How the taxpayer helped Tony Abbott flog Battlelines'

Former fairfax journalist and author, Margo Kingston took up the challenge with a freedom of information request this week.

What turned up, was a $9400 misuse of Australian taxpayer money, just as Milne had suggested.
No Fibs 'EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book'
This was followed by The Australian Independent Media Network questioning why the Australian media was not picking up on the story, given that it had devoted so much time to the $900 cabcharge infringement by Independent Federal MP, Peter Slipper.
Tony Abbott, I want money, I want lots of money, Just give me money #Battlerort

Tony Abbott, I want money, I want lots of money, Just give me money #Battlerort


We expect more to come from this with Fairfax reporters showing an interest late this afternoon:
BattleRort  Jonathan Swan Tweets

#BattleRort Open Chapters

Ch1 The Minchin Protocol

The Minchin Protocol


What is the "Minchin Protocol"? Former Press Gallery journalist, Matty Horan explains the history to Margo Kingston on another Liberal Party member's breach of travel allowances.
What is the “Minchin Protocol” that was denied to Mr Peter Slipper?

'What is the “Minchin Protocol” that was denied to Mr Peter Slipper?'


Writing for the Independent Australia, Margo Kingston explored the 'Minchin Protocol' further in relation to Peter Slipper. She found that Mr Slipper had been denied the chance to repay his taxi travel expenses that had been granted to other MPs.
EXCLUSIVE: How Finance defied protocol to crucify Slipper

'EXCLUSIVE: How Finance defied protocol to crucify Slipper'


The Guardian Australia's Bridie Jabour has written a new explainer on The Minchin protocol in relation to Tony Abbott's travel expenses.

It is not uncommon for MPs to repay expenses. Jabour quotes that between 2005 and 2010, 'over the period 29 Liberal and National party members repaid $57,064.34, while 22 Australian Labor party MPs repaid $31,089.02.'

'Together the Greens and independent MP Bob Katter repaid $2,003.47.'

The only other person besides Peter Slipper that was asked to explain her travel repayments was Prime Minister at the time, Julia Gillard.

Also, under the rules of The Minchin protocol any investigation by Finance cannot be made public, even if the federal police are involved.

Mr Slipper repaid $14,000 under The Minchin protocol but it was a further $900 uncovered by federal police that he was denied Minchin for.

Without that protection, he was charged and made to face court.
The Minchin protocol explained: expenses, repayments and Tony Abbott 'The Minchin protocol explained: expenses, repayments and Tony Abbott'

 

Ch2 Into The Mainstream Media

Into The Mainstream Media


Fairfax journalist, Bianca Hall  confirmed Margo Kingston's initial FOI report on BattleRort. In her article she confirmed Tony Abbott was issued with a warning but was allowed to repay the sum.

However...

Mr Slipper faces allegations he misused Cabcharge dockets to visit Canberra wineries in hire cars in 2010, at a cost of $1194 to taxpayers, before he became Speaker.
Abbott repaid cost of 2009 book trips

'Abbott repaid cost of 2009 book trips'


David Donovan from Independent Australia reported on the entry of the scandal into the mainstream media but doesn't hold out much hope for close journalistic examination.  The Australian made a passing reference, buried midway between other items of the day.
Tony Abbott’s #Battlerorts scandal goes mainstream

'Tony Abbott’s #Battlerort scandal goes mainstream'

 

Ch3 Social Media Reporting

Social Media Reporting


Social media is now in full flight on the scandal with hashtag #BattleRort trending.

First appearence of the hashtag can be traced back to a conversation between @rodgerrodgersu and @LubedUpNoob.

The first YouTube video has appeared by @krONik, simply labeled #BattleRort.
  #BattleRort @LubedUpNoob
#BattleRort by krONik   The ABC's Latika Bourke tweeted that upon being asked if he claimed expenses for his book he answered, 'I did not.'

#BattleRort Latika Bourke

 

Ch4 Tony Abbott's Extravagant Expenses History

Tony Abbott's Extravagant Expenses History


A spokesperson from Mr Abbott's office told Fairfax that, "As the government has made clear, this matter was resolved more than two years ago."

Yet, Mr Abbott does have a history of making odd expenses claims from the Australian taxpayer.  Over the years, in his regular 'Pollie Pedal' for charity, he has raised $2.5 million. However, he claimed $8,237 in travel expenses. His regular income is $352,517.

Asking Australia to elect him Prime Minister later this year on a platform of smaller Government & less wasteful spending, it seems extraordinary that he would make these claims. The Independent Australia reports.
Tony Abbott’s dodgy Pollie Pedal expense claims

'Tony Abbott’s dodgy Pollie Pedal expense claims'


@phonytonyabbott had a look at Abbott's expense claims and compared them to the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. If the overseas travel is deducted from her claims, Abbott outstrips her.
Tony Abbott and his extravagant expenses

'Tony Abbott and his extravagant expenses'


In 2010 it was revealed that Abbott failed to declare a $710,00 home loan that he took out in 2008. Labor questioned how he could manage the economy if he couldn't remember to declare a financial interest. Fellow liberal party member Andrew Robb hit back as Joe Kelly from The Australian reported:

'Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb defended his leader, saying it was a “simple mistake”, and accused Labor of muckraking.'
Tony Abbott's secret $710,000 home loan

'Tony Abbott's secret $710,000 home loan'

 

Ch5 Tony Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses from 2009 book tour

Tony Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses from 2009 book tour


The Guardian Australia's Bridie Jabour has reported that Tony Abbott has denied he falsely claimed expenses on his book tour between 30 July and 14 August 2009.

This is contrary to evidence uncovered by Margo Kingston through FOI requests.
Tony Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses from 2009 book tour

'Tony Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses from 2009 book tour'

 

 #BattleRort Paul Bongiorno   In twitter conversation with Margo Kingston, Network Ten News Paul Bongiorno was inititially unconvinced. On challenging Tony Abbott about #BattleRort, he tweeted, 'He denied it and we believe him.'

However, under further prompting from the twitterazzi he took a look at the evidence Margo had provided. Read the full Twitter conversation left.

@PhonyTonyAbbott has also launched an explainer vid on #BattleRort. It includes footage of Tony Abbott denying he claimed expenses for his book tour which Margo Kingston has proven to be false.
  #BattleRort explainer by @PhonyTonyAbbott


 

Ch6 'Calm Down' - Tony Abbott Tells Journalist Bridie Jabour

'Calm Down' - Tony Abbott Tells Journalist Bridie Jabour


Tony Abbott has delivered a put-down to The Guardian Australia's Bridie Jabour @bkjabour after she questioned him further on #BattleRort.

Following up on her piece yesterday, 'Tony Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses from 2009 book tour' Ms Jabour challenged the Opposition Leader by stating, "You just repeat your lines over and over again."

To which Mr Abbott closed his eyes before telling Ms Jabour to 'calm down'. He then resumed his answer that the matter had been dealt with.

Channel 9 News Sarah Harris @SarahHarrisNews recorded the initial footage using Instagram video which you can view right.
  #BattleRort 'Calm Down'
Shortly afterward, Ms Jabour tweeted her disbelief at being told to calm down as Mr Abbott moved to inspect pies at the bakery he was holding the presser.
 #BattleRort Calm Down Bridie & Pies   #BattleRort Calm Down Bridie

 

#BattleRort Extended footage of The Guardian’s Bridie Jabour being told to ‘calm down’ when pressing Tony Abbott for more details on #BattleRort   Extended footage of the exchange between The Guardian's Bridie Jabour and Tony Abbott has been released.

Mr Abbott brickwalled the reporter with repeated statements of, "It was fully dealt with last year."

Ms Jabour asks Mr Abbott why he said yesterday he hadn't claimed travel expenses but the answer remains the same.

Finally Mr Abbott, tells Ms Jabour to 'calm down' after further questions from her into why and how it happened.

 


From this, the ABC's Emma Griffiths @EJGriffiths tweaks the story but doesn't get it completely accurate. She reports on Tony Abbott blaming Primer Minister Kevin Rudd for instigating a 'Labor dirt campaign' without checking with the originator, Margo Kingston from NoFibs.
Tony Abbott blames Labor dirt campaign for questions over expenses

'Tony Abbott blames Labor dirt campaign for questions over expenses'

 

The twitterazzi has repeatedly attempted to contact Emma Griffiths to get her to correct the story and speak to Margo Kingston but she has not returned tweets.

Click right for full conversation.

Meanwhile, Margo Kingston has published another report on Bridie Jabour attempt to question Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Abbott’s #Battlerort lines collapse under @bkjabour questioning

'Abbott’s #BattleRort lines collapse under @bkjabour questioning'

  #BattleRort  Emma Griffiths

 

Now released, full round of questioning from The Guardian Australia's Bridie Jabour in which Opposition Leader Tony Abbott blames Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a 'dirt' and 'spin' campaign on #BattleRort.

When pressed on the issue of Peter Slipper having to face charges, Mr Abbott refuses to answer questions other than to say the matter has been fully dealth with.

Footage to the right.

Bridie Jabour has now published her piece on the days events.
Tony Abbott refuses to explain wrongly claimed travel expenses 'Tony Abbott refuses to explain wrongly claimed travel expenses'
  #BattleRort #CalmDownBridie

 

#BattleRort Security   Not only is #BattleRort a test of the calibre of the man who wants to lead Australia, but it is also a test of the Australian media in their ability to investigate a potential crime.

Given that MP Peter Slipper is facing court over $900 for incorrectly claiming taxi travel, should not Tony Abbott come under the same scrutiny from the media?

It is not the job of citizen journalism to replace the media. More so to hold it to account, to demand they give the same treatment to all politicians in terms of investigative journalism?

Have they caught on the 5th Estate yet?

It remains to be seen.

 

Ch7 When Bolt Attacks

When Bolt Attacks


Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt has attacked Guardian journalist, Bridie Jabour and her sister Anna Jabour.

Entitled, 'How Tony Abbott was framed by an activist journalist who should calm down' he defends Mr Abbott's 'calm down' statement and argues that it is not sexist.

He goes on to attack the 'Left’s sisterhood' and begins a rant on 'media bias and malice - the gotcha journalism of the Left.'

He lists several Labor MPs who have repaid expenses under the Minchin protocol but makes no reference to the Peter Slipper case.


  #BattleRort CalmDownBridie Joe Hockey
#BattleRort @WRB3301 responds to Bolt  

Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey has retweeted the post adding comments of his own.


Click above for the full twitter post from Hockey and then follow the link to the full Bolt blog.

Overnight, Brooksy @wrb330 wrote a very good response to Bolt's piece. Click left, worth reading, doubtful it will find it's way onto the Bolt blog.

Michael Taylor @MigloMT from The Australian Independent Media Network deconstructs Bolt's blog and soon locates the hypocrisy.
It’s easy to get the impression that Andrew Bolt might just be a bit hypocritical  'It’s easy to get the impression that Andrew Bolt might just be a bit hypocritical'





 

Ch8 #BattleRort at #PieRort

#BattleRort at #PieRort

 

ABC's LateLine has reported on #BattleRort. Although, not using the coloquial term, they did cover Bridie Jabour's questioning of Mr Abbott.

Reporter Tom Iggulden did make the connection between the treatment of Peter Slipper and Mr Abbott.  Lateline broadcast two tweets from Peter Slipper's staff asking why Slipper had been treated differently.

@incognitusanon has tweeted a link to Garlo's pie shop where Mr Abbott attended the 'CalmDownBridie' media conference yesterday.
  #BattleRort covered by #LateLine

It appears business is booming with no adverse effects of the carbon tax or the economy.

Danielle Bowling from Food Magazine writes:
'It's so refreshing then, to hear Sean Garlick, managing director at Garlo's Pies, talk about the strength of the 12 year old pie business.'
IconFoodMagazine  'New facility gives Garlo's a bigger slice of the pie market'

Michelle Grattan @michellegrattan from The Conversation has picked up on #BattleRort.  She explores Abbott's poor handling of the questions from reporter Bridie Jabour.  She makes the connection to Peter Slipper.  However, she ends the article discussing Kevin Rudd, polls and Bill Shorten.

Perhaps an indication that the mainstream media isn't taking it too seriously at this stage.
#BattleRort @michellegrattan from The Conversation 'Abbott struggles with questions about repaying government money'

In a NoFibs piece last week, Margo Kingston asked, 'Who asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate Peter Slipper’s 2010 travel claims?'  James Ashby made some claims against his former boss, Peter Slipper.  These were dismissed.

However, the AFP delved back into Slipper's accounts and found the problems that he is now facing court over and going against the standing orders of the 'Minchin Protocol'.
#BattleRort A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby '#BattleRort A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby'

An article in the UK edition of the Australian Times has appeared from reporter, Courtney Greatrex. She reports well on the events of the last few days but doesn't make the Peter Slipper connection. She mentions Margo Kingston's NoFibs website but doesn't explore #BattleRort any further.
#BattleRort Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses, despite repaying tour costs 'Abbott denies wrongly claiming expenses, despite repaying tour costs'
The question being asked on twitter was who and how was Peter Slipper alerted to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

A freedom of information (FOI) may be underway to find out.

The form to report a Commonwealth crime has been tweeted several times.

ABC Radio National's Fran Kelly and The Conversation's Michelle Grattan discuss #BattleRort.

Grattan makes the point that Abbott handled the press badly giving a misleading answer on Monday over not claiming expenses.

Abbott makes the mistake of blaming Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Grattan describes Margo Kingston as, "An absolute terrier when she gets onto a good story."
@frankellyabc & @michellegrattan talk #BattleRort '@frankellyabc & @michellegrattan talk #BattleRort'
  #BattleRort AFP

 

Ch9 #BattleRort and Potential For MSM Spill

#BattleRort and Potential For MSM Spill


For the first time since #BattleRort began a Fairfax main stream media (MSM) journalist has connected all of the dots with Tony Abbott's travel expenses scandal.

In an online interview with Tim Lester, federal political reporter, Jonathan Swan @jonathanvswan explained the frustrations that social media had been experiencing with the lack of media  scrutiny into Mr Abbott to the same extent as Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Peter Slipper.

Described as 'progressives', Swan explained why social media groups had begun investigating Tony Abbott.
  Fairfax federal political reporter, Jonathan Swan speaks Tim Lester about #BattleRort
"They say they are incredibly frustrated that the main stream media hasn't been putting enough pressure on the Opposition Leader."

Swan also explains that the investigative work of the two groups, #AshbyGate and #BattleRort does have the potential to cause a danger to Tony Abbott's campaign.

"It's a danger for him, if and when they get enough of a break that it will spill out into the main stream media."

Swan goes onto liken the momentum to the way in which the AWU affair broke, consuming the media cycle.

Swan was asked how big a role new media would have on the outcome of the 2013 election campaign.

"It's a very easy thing to do as a journalist to be arrogant and to say 'oh no these people are just whackjobs, you know, they're crazy, they're partisan, I'm just going to ignore them'. Well no. Often they're really highly intelligent people who've done a lot more research than we have."

Swan explains more about #AshbyGate in his piece published today.

'Tony Abbott and his party are being pursued by a private detective, an army of pensioners and a very determined man in a wheelchair.

Hundreds of online activists – at least a third of whom are pensioners and led by a quadriplegic IT expert – have raised more than $50,000 and hired a private detective to investigate the affair.'
'#Ashbygate' saga pursued by internet-funded activists '#Ashbygate' saga pursued by internet-funded activists'

 

Ch10 Not The Moral Paragon

Not The Moral Paragon


In an interview on radio 2UE, August 18th, 2011 Tony Abbott said he did not want to 'set himself up as a moral paragon'.

He was being quizzed about the Craig Thomson scandal and what he would do if a Minister acted in the same manner as Thomson.

Mr Abbott refused to condemn Mr Thomson, only saying that he hoped it wouldn't happen under his administration.  At the time, Mr Thomson was under sustained attack from the Opposition and calls for him to resign.

Abbott refuses to condemn embattled Labor MP 'Abbott refuses to condemn embattled Labor MP'
  @NormanK4 Tony Abbott - Feeding in the Wild #BattleRort

NoFibs
has put out a public request to gather questions to ask Tony Abbott on #BattleRort. If you don't have Twitter, you can also post questions in the comments section at the following link.
Twitter’s #Battlerort questions for @TonyAbbottMHR 'Twitter’s #Battlerort questions for @TonyAbbottMHR'

The Sunshine Daily's Kathy Sundstrom has covered both #BattleRort and #AshbyGate in an article published 10th July, 2013. She cover's Peter Slipper's initial twitter response to #BattleRort. She goes on to make the comparison between Mr Abbott's treatment and Mr Slipper's.

Abbott refuses to address excesses as Slipper fumes

'Abbott refuses to address excesses as Slipper fumes'

The Guardian Australia's Bridie Jabour has written a new explainer on The Minchin protocol in relation to Tony Abbott's travel expenses.

It is not uncommon for MPs to repay expenses. Jabour quotes that between 2005 and 2010, 'over the period 29 Liberal and National party members repaid $57,064.34, while 22 Australian Labor party MPs repaid $31,089.02.'

'Together the Greens and independent MP Bob Katter repaid $2,003.47.'

The only other person besides Peter Slipper that was asked to explain her travel repayments was Prime Minister at the time, Julia Gillard.

Also, under the rules of The Minchin protocol any investigation by Finance cannot be made public, even if the federal police are involved.

Mr Slipper repaid $14,000 under The Minchin protocol but it was a further $900 uncovered by federal police that he was denied Minchin for.

Without that protection, he was charged and made to face court.
The Minchin protocol explained: expenses, repayments and Tony Abbott 'The Minchin protocol explained: expenses, repayments and Tony Abbott'
#BattleRort inspired sequel in Hammer House of Horror tradition: #BridieOfBattleRort @DrHugoZHakenbus and @kronik   Margo Kingston @MargoKingston1 has been interviewed by Paul Bevan   @paulbevo on ABC 1233 Newcastle about #BattleRort and #AshbyGate.

Kingston also discuses the rise of citizen journalism out of the disgruntlement of ordinary people at the media. In particular, the failure of the press gallery to investigate and hold the Federal Opposition to account on many of the claims it makes.

Three fact checking outlets have appeared this year. People expect this to be the job of the journalist covering the story. Margo provides answers as to how and why these units have appeared.

Citizen journalism, #BattleRort & #AshbyGate: @MargoKingston1 interviewed by @paulbevo on @1233newcastle 'Citizen journalism, #BattleRort & #AshbyGate: @MargoKingston1 interviewed by @paulbevo on @1233newcastle'

 

Ch11 #BattleRort: Your Guide

#Battlerort: Your guide to how Abbott charged taxpayers for his book tour


Citizen journalist, Chris Smith has written a follow up article to Margo Kingston's at No Fibs

He examines the different types of parliamentary entitlements and looks at Tony Abbott's use of comcars.
#Battlerort: Your guide to how Abbott charged taxpayers for his book tour

'#Battlerort: Your guide to how Abbott charged taxpayers for his book tour'

 

#BattleRort: Margo Kingston has lodged a FOI on Tony Abbott’s expenses surrounding his use of Com Cars. 
Margo Kingston awaits the results of a FOI she has lodged on Tony Abbott in relation to his use of Com cars during his book launch. 

Click above to view the tweet.

A tired Margo Kingston has also been interviewed by radio @2SER with Jamie Travers.

Margo explains more about #BattleRort and touches on #AshbyGate.

She expresses her utter dismay at the Canberra press gallery and at ABC 7:30's Chris Uhlmann's @CUhlmann complete miss on Monday night in not asking Tony Abbott one question on his book promotional expenses.
#BattleRort & #AshbyGate: @MargoKingston1 on @2ser with Jamie Traver: #BattleRort & #AshbyGate: @MargoKingston1 on @2ser with Jamie Travers

 

 

Ch12 Convergence: #BattleRort and #AshbyGate

Convergence: #BattleRort and #AshbyGate

 
13 July 2013:  Last night, ABC Lateline journalist, Emma Albericie asked a few probing questions of the Leader of Opposition Business, Christopher Pyne.

Without specifically naming #BattleRort or #AshbyGate, she began by asking Mr Pyne about the decision of the Federal Government to cover Peter Slipper's court costs.

Pyne immediately blames Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for the decision.
  #BattleRort: Emma Albericie quizzes Leader of Opposition Business, Christopher Pyne on ABC Lateline.
"Well, we think Mr Rudd needs to answer some questions about this."

He continues saying it must have been a cabinet decision.

As he attempts to divert into a discussion about Craig Thomson and his legal fees, Albericie pulls him up and explains that Slipper's court costs are being covered because the charges brought against him were politically motivated.

Albericie: "Well, no Gary Gray made the caveat that this was because it was a politically motivated lawsuit and that that could damage democracy."

Pyne: "Well, that seems to be very much in the eye of the beholder of the Government."

Albericie: "No that was the Federal court decision."

Pyne: "Usually there is a rule, a rule that either applies or doesn't apply, Emma. You can't have the cabinet or the Prime Minister in this case making unilateral decisions to simply pay the legal fees of people that sit on the cross benches."

Pyne goes on to ignore the Federal court decision from Justice Steven Rares and blames Rudd for the decision to pay Slipper's legal fees.

However, Pyne has made a critical point about rules. They do have to be applied.

Albericie lets him trail off and then takes up this point with Tony Abbott's expenses pay back and Peter Slipper being charged.

"Still on Mr Slipper, there appears to be a disparity in treatment between Peter Slipper and Tony Abbott with regards to misclaimed (sic) expenses.  Is it clear to you why Mr Abbott was allowed to simply pay back his $9,400 that he mistakenly claimed and yet Mr Slipper is being pursued through the courts for $900 which is less than ten times that?"

It is here that Pyne makes a critical error. It would be an easy mistake if you were a first term MP but not someone who was elected to the House of Reps in 1993.

He states that it is the decision of the Finance department to choose to prosecute or not.

"Well, I think the point is there that the department makes those decisions about which mistakes should be pursued and which ones shouldn't."

He adds, "In the case of Mr Slipper the Department has made a decision, which is a matter for them not for me, that there might be some intent involved rather than a mistaken error of judgement. That's probably why they're pursuing him in the courts but that's a matter they'll explain in the courts."

Pyne is wrong here.  As Margo Kingston points out in the following article, in a letter sent from Finance to Mr Slipper it was not aware of Slipper's outstanding $900 worth of cab fares. It only found out AFTER the AFP uncovered them.

Instead of the 'Minchin Protocol' being applied, someone had called the cops on Slipper.
#BattleRort A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby '#BattleRort A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby'

 

 

Update: In response to the Lateline interview with Emma Albericie and Christopher Pyne

FINANCE STATEMENT ON SLIPPER SUMMONS: Pyne wrong on Lateline by Margo Kingston


In the light of a media report this week which contradicted my report that someone other than the Finance Department referred the 2010 travel claim by Slipper to the AFP which resulted in his prosecution I emailed the Finance Department for clarification.

This is their reply:

UNCLASSIFIED

Hi Margo,

No, the Department of Finance and Deregulation did not refer this matter to the Australian Federal Police.

The matter was separately referred to the Australian Federal Police by a third party.

Regards,
Tameena | Communications and Public Affairs

Background:

On last night's Lateline, Mr Pyne stated that the Department of Finance had referred Mr Slipper to the police for the alleged 2010 travel rort which resulted in his prosecution for $900 'Government school funding plan is not the Gonski model'.

EMMA ALBERICI: Still on Mr Slipper, there appears to have been a disparity in treatment between Peter Slipper and Tony Abbott with regards to misclaimed expenses. Is it clear to you why Mr Abbott was able to simply pay back his $9,400 that he mistakenly claimed and yet Mr Slipper is being pursued through the courts for $900, which is less than 10 times that?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well I think the point is there that the department makes those decisions about which mistakes should be pursued and which ones shouldn't. I mean, sometimes there is an inadvertent error and over the years people have been asked to pay that back. It's happened on hundreds of occasions where someone's overpaid $180 or $9,000 and the department follows them up. In the case of Mr Slipper, the department has made a decision, which is a matter for them not for me, that there might be some intent involved rather than a mistaken error of judgment and that's probably why they're pursuing him in the courts, but that's a matter that they'll explain in the courts.

From where did Mr Pyne get his information? It flatly contradicts written statements to Mr Slipper by Finance and published in my piece A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby.

On 16 November 2012, Mr Slipper wrote:

'I understand the department may have some queries about my travel in Canberra suburbs on 20 January, 19 April 2010 and 27 June 2010 (the issue he was later charged with in January). I seek advice on any outstanding concerns by the department in relation to travel on the dates noted above or any other use of entitlement.'

The Finance Department's Mr David Tune replied on 17 December 2012:

'Prior to the AFP investigation, Finance had no concerns with your travel paid under entitlement on those days... To the extent that Finance has received any further information about travel on those days, it would only be from assistance provided in response to AFP queries during the course of the AFP's investigation...'

My understanding is therefore, as detailed this piece, that the Finance Department's Minchin Protocol, under which it asked Mr Abbott to repay $9,400 charged to the taxpayer for his book tour without further consequences, did not apply in the Slipper case because the 2010 travel claims were referred directly to police by someone outside Finance.

There is, however a whole lot more to #AshbyGate than this one item.

David Donovan @davrosz , Vince O'Grady @vogrady2132, Ross Jones and many more have been reporting on the case since it began. 

The 'Old Media' press gallery stopped reporting on the case James Ashby had brought against Slipper after the case was thrown out by Justice Steven Rares on 12 December, 2012.

You can read the whole saga at this link.
#Ashbygate: The James Ashby Conspiracy '#Ashbygate: The James Ashby Conspiracy'

Writing in The Guardian Australia, David Marr becomes the first main stream journalist to revisit the #AshbyGate saga. He explores in-depth all of the players, Mal Brough, James Ashby, Peter Slipper, Joe Hockey, Clive Palmer, Steve Lewis & many others.

#Ashbygate: the great disappearing scandal about to roar back into life

'#Ashbygate: the great disappearing scandal about to roar back into 'life''


David Marr also gave a radio interview to ABC Sunshine Coast. He praised fellow Guardian journalist Bridie Jabour and spoke about both #AshbyGate and #BattleRort.
What role did Mal Brough play in James Ashby's case against Peter Slipper MP?

'What role did Mal Brough play in James Ashby's case against Peter Slipper MP?'

 

A few hours before Lateline went to air, ABC's The Drum missed the opportunity to discuss #BattleRort or #AshbyGate.

Sarah Ferguson hosted the program with guests ABC's Mark Colvin, publisher Louise Adler and The Australian's Nick Cater.

The lead in was the announcement by Acting Special Minister of State, Gary Gray that the Federal Government would fund the legal costs of Peter Slipper.

From the 1st of July, all MPs are now covered by insurance The panel agrees on the principal to protect politicians in the same way as lawyers have indemnity.

  Not quite there yet, ABC’s The Drum panel miss the opportunity to discuss #AshbyGate and #BattleRort
Bizarrely, Adler begins to repeat the text messages information, ignoring the fact that Justice Steven Rares findings that it was vexatious.  She then drifts off into Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard's misogyny speech and how she didn't include Slipper's 'vile' comments.

Colvin mixes in some governmental conspiracy theory, that we could be listened into by the Chinese, the British or the CIA.

"It goes back to this idea that has been well and truly blown to pieces in the last few weeks, that anything that we say online, in text messages, in emails, anywhere electronically is actually private. One way or another it's starting to look as though it's all going to come out."

Host Sarah Ferguson attempts to bring the conversation back to #AshbyGate by asking Cater his thoughts on citizen journalists who wont let the James Ashby story go.

"It just feeds into my deep concerns about citizen journalists, as you say," says Cater. "I mean, look, you know, this just seems to be a very, very strange way to behave. I mean this may is brought before the courts, judgement comes down, that I thought was it."

Citizen journalists find it very, very strange as to why the press gallery failed to investigate the story any further, post December 2012 when the judgement was handed down.

Justice Steven Rares found the sexual harassment case taken by Mr Slipper's former staffer James Ashby as vexatious. It was part of a conspiracy, taken for the predominant purpose of causing political damage to Mr Slipper.

Yet, here in this 4:50 mins, you have a portal into the failure of the Australian media. The panel begins by agreeing with funding Slipper's case but then goes on to completely disregard the Federal court findings.

 

Ch13 Is #BattleRort Just The Tip Of The #RortBerg?

Is #BattleRort Just The Tip Of The #RortBerg?


On Friday, July 12 2013,@phonytonyabbott published another report into Tony Abbott's expense claims he made for travel allowances and flight costs during four surf events he was competing in during 2012.

The sum total of these expenses is $5,510.88 of taxpayer dollars.

Budgie smuggling combined with official business?
How the taxpayer paid for Tony Abbott to compete in surf races

'How the taxpayer paid for Tony Abbott to compete in surf races'


Carly @tehautumn has also linked a 2009 article in which Paul Lampathakis from The Sunday Times reports that Tony Abbott was being investigated by the Federal Government after admitting he used taxpayer-funded travel for Liberal Party fundraiser at which he also promoted his book.

This casts a shadow over the initial travel expenses question he was asked by the media earlier last week, Monday 8th July, 2013, to which he replied, 'I did not'.
Federal Government investigating Tony Abbott's taxpayer-funded trip

'Federal Government investigating Tony Abbott's taxpayer-funded trip'


@no_filter_yamba has investigated the cost of Tony Abbott transporting his family around to different events. At the end of December 2012, it is believed the figure has amounted to a cost of $56,152.52 to the taxpayer.
#BattleRort: So how much is the softer, gentler Tony Abbott costing taxpayers?

'#BattleRort: So how much is the softer, gentler Tony Abbott costing taxpayers?'


Margo Kingston @MargoKingston1 has had a look at a look at Tony Abbott's volunteering activities and calls for submissions on other activities.
Citizen Journalism Is @TonyAbbottMHR really ‘volunteering’? 'Citizen Journalism Is @TonyAbbottMHR really ‘volunteering’?'

Published for The Australian Independent Media Network, Victoria Rollinson has written an opinion piece on Tony Abbot, #BattleRort and #AshbyGate.
 House of cards

'House of cards'

 

Ch14 Rita Panhi Attacks Journalist Bridie Jabour, The Guardian and Citizen Journalism

Columnist Rita Panahi has attacked citizen journalism as people ‘deliriously stupid are often hyperventilating with rage.’  

Rita Panahi Attacks Journalist Bridie Jabour, The Guardian and Citizen Journalism


News Corp Australia Herald Sun and social commentator, Rita Panahi has lashed out at social media attacking twitter users as operating in a 'parallel universe'.

Her latest piece was delivered from her twitter account with comments stating, 'My column on the parallel universe where the deliriously stupid are often hyperventilating with rage.'

In her column entitled, "Twitter, Where Julia Gillard Still Rules And Tony Abbott Is On The Run" Ms Panahi makes the assertion that twitter is divorced from reality. She dismisses the importance of such topics as gay marriage, abortion rights and climate change, which are frequently discussed over Twitter.
She then makes an intangible leap to The Guardian journalist, Bridie Jabour who last week questioned Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on his travel expenses during his book promotion.

She describes Ms Jabour as 'a shrill journalist' and also as 'a young activist journalist.'

This last phrase was used by fellow Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt who attacked Ms Jabour a week earlier.
  Herald Sun columnist, Rita Panahi uses twitter to deliver her latest column to the ‘deleriously stupid’ readership.
'Like a petulant toddler who doesn't want to hear that ice cream isn't a proper dinner, Bridie Jabour asked the same question in hostile tones no less than nine times.'

She attacks The Guardian as being 'a Leftie website funded by the Greens' biggest donor, Graeme Wood'.

She makes no mention of the structure of the questions that Ms Jabour put to Mr Abbott. She leaves out the references to Peter Slipper.

Ms Panahi also appears unaware of the 'Minchin Protocol' standard for repaying expenses to which Peter Slipper was denied.
Over Twitter, Rita Panahi links her source of reference after the column has been published.   Ms Panahi goes on to comment on research that backs her claim that the Twitter world is left leaning but provides no link in her column to the source.

'Research released in March by the Pew Institute showed that reaction on Twitter to major political events is often at odds with public opinion and that difference is invariably a bias toward the Left.'

However, under questioning from the Twitterazzi she uses twitter to link to her source and patronises her audience by stating,  "I'm sure you're capable of googling..."

Ms Panahi would not respond to any questions from Greenshack over twitter on the matter.

However, she did respond over Twitter to Margo Kingston from NoFibs.

In a frustrating exchange, with many interjections, Ms Panahi seems unwilling to accept Kingston's initial FOI findings and grasp why Peter Slipper was not granted the 'Minchin Protocol' where Tony Abbott was.

You can read the full twitter exchange here: 'My column in today’s paper on why twitter is so often divorced from reality…with obligatory Simon Black reference.'
In a tweet, Rita Panahi delights the knowledge that name is now trending    In the final act, Ms Panahi tweets her delight at having her name trending on twitter.

Having completely missed the point of #BattleRort, the exchange with Panahi is another example of how difficult and frustrating it is to get media attention on an issue.

#BattleRort can't be easily reduced to a simple three word slogan.

It's an issue that requires time to examine the facts and evidence. At its heart is the crucial point; 'The Minchin Protocol'.

 

Ch 15 Leigh Sales Away From #BattleRort

ABC 730 presenter, Leigh Sales comes tantalisingly close to the #BattleRort story  

Leigh Sales Away From #BattleRort


In a tantalisingly tweet, ABC 730 presenter, Leigh Sales @LeighSales has come close to the #BattleRort story.

However, it was for the wrong reason. She recommened Tony Abbott's 2009 book, Battlelines as a'good thing'.

It was a narrow miss for the Twitterazzi who tweeted out to her. However, like a ship disappearing over the horizon, she was gone, leaving a beach full of bemused, stranded castaways.

@
krONik
has produced another #BattleRort music video entitled, 'Here Comes That Day'.
  Here Comes That Day @krONik





Sideshow Tone  The Champagne Spill - Pride before a fall   #PayRort: The pay rise Qld MPs had to have

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