No link but apparently some underhand letter wrting to the CT has been at hand. The story as i heard it from radio this morning is that the wife of a Stanhope staffer sent in a very glowing letter about the merits of our esteemed leader.
Now, she has every right to do so as she may feel that her views were completely her own. However, given the current political climate and remembering coronial inquiries, graffiti, etc, it would seem that some damage control may be going on.
Lets await the outcome.
UPDATED: Crikey had the following to say on the issue today:
19. Stanhope’s fan mail lands him in hot water
Crikey reporter Sophie Black writes:
Readers of the flood of Jon Stanhope fan mail published recently in The Canberra Times could be fooled into thinking that the beleagured Chief Minister still has plenty of admirers ready to defend him to the death. But it’s worth doing a quick background check on the people who penned the tomes before jumping to any conclusions. Stanhope is already red faced over accusations of interference with the bushfires inquest after his unsuccessful attempt to have the coroner disqualified, so the more cheerleaders the Chief can muster the better â€“ just not if they’re already on his team. It turns out that at least one letter to the ed that talked up Stanhope was written by the wife of his chief of staff.
Stanhope’s not-so-secret admirer, Liz Clarke, of Kambah, wrote that Saturday’s Times Forum feature on “Stanhope’s leadership style made a good point: that we in Canberra look to our political representatives to show some policy leadership. That’s why Canberra turned against (former Liberal minister) Kate Carnell â€“ wipe the bluster and hoo-ha aside and there wasn’t any substance. As Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope is the opposite. You can agree with him or not, but there is no denying his government is providing leadership on important issuesâ€“ human rights, anti-discrimination, refugees â€“ that others have not.”
Cameron Ross, Opinion Editor of The Canberra Times told Crikey that most of the letters they’d received recently had “been fairly critical of Stanhope…On the weekend we published a lengthy piece in our Forum section which chartered his political fortunes over the last few years since the fires….we got a flood of letters from people saying we were being too harsh on Stanhope and to give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was worthwhile giving them a decent run, seeing as there were so many.”
It soon came to The Times attention that Clarke is the wife of Greg Friedewald, who has worked for Stanhope as a political appointment since Stanhope was Opposition Leader. There was nothing in Clarke’s letter to suggest her links to the ALP, said Ross, and if Clarke had stated them “we wouldn’t have published. There are now doubts about the other letters as well.”
A spokeswoman for Jon Stanhope, Penelope Layland, told Crikey that Stanhope “was surprised to see the letter and extremely touched that she (Clarke) felt prompted to rush into print to defend him.” Penelope said Stanhope feels very sorry for the “hammering in the press” that Clarke had got for writing the letter. “She’s an old friend who obviously felt that she had to leap in and defend him. She’s a free agent and she’s free to disclose whatever she wants, he is not her keeper.”
Layland said Stanhope is “not about to issue some edict to members of the ALP and friends about what they can and can’t do.”
In other words, keep the fan mail flooding in, folks.