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CT letters to the Editor fury

By Thumper 24 August 2005 10

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 – 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 – 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 issues– human rights, anti-discrimination, refugees – 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.

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CT letters to the Editor fury
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dusty 11:47 am 29 Aug 05

The CT site Have Your Say contains nothing but rubbish. Its a total waste of time even checking it out. Crazy pentys and righteous retirees contribute nothing. Do these stupid people realise that they aren’t actually writing a letter to the Ed? I don’t think so. Stay away from it if you have any choice. Any letter written there is automatically worthless anyway.

Thumper 8:19 am 25 Aug 05


I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail right on its proverbial head.

refugees is an interesting point, it is a Commonwealth responsibility, not State, and certainly not Territory, and I can hardly see hordes of Iraqis heading for the ACT border.

I particularly like this bit, “You can agree with him or not, but there is no denying his government is providing leadership on important issues– human rights, anti-discrimination, refugees – that others have not.””

No, you can’t disagree with him, that gets proven time and time again.

And who cares if Mr Stanhope is a leading light in the above fields. It is irrelevant to the running of the Territory. but then again, all the things mentioned by Ms Clarke are largely irrelevant to the running of the Territory.

If Mr Stanhope wants to do this then he should join the United Nations or care, or one of those organisations, not use his political appointment to air his personal views.

I wonder what he’d say about this website?

johnboy 10:10 pm 24 Aug 05


I was thinking much the same thing.

tallian 7:54 pm 24 Aug 05

“there is no denying his government is providing leadership on important issues– human rights, anti-discrimination, refugees” – interesting perspective from Liz Clarke. I would have thought this says Comrade Jon is working at the wrong level of government. All this is fluff. The local government needs to focus its complete attention on doing the basics right – running schools, hospitals, buses, roads, garbage etc so that we enjoy excellent services at great value for money.

However, our politicians aspire to be bigger than this, as do many of the bureaucrats who’d really rather be on the national stage. Local services are boring, so our governments and bureaucrats amuse themselves and try to keep their names in lights by trying to be the great social innovators or statesmen. (Reflection that local politics is 2nd prize for the faithful party hacks who couldn’t make the big time?)

bulldog 2:19 pm 24 Aug 05

Let’s hope the good folks of the ACT eother don’t read the letters (I know I don’t, but that’s because I feel it gives loonys and morons a platform to voice their lunacy etc), or that they are smart enough to see this stunt for what it is.

kimba 12:16 pm 24 Aug 05

I understand that Liz shares pillow talk with Greg Friedewald, who is Comrade’s Chief of Staff. Another letter writer, Anne Holmes, is also a ALP member, a deep throat tells me. Ok to have a personal opinion BUT Liz is a bit close to the Comrade one would think! Talking about the Comrade I wonder what Aidan is doing now days?

Thumper 11:56 am 24 Aug 05

It was the Liz Clarke letter that started it….

thanks K

Kerces 11:24 am 24 Aug 05

The four letters talked about are here for anyone interested (though they’re all run together so take a bit of thinking to sort out which is which).

Evictor 11:03 am 24 Aug 05

I read the letters yesterday (tough day, needed a laugh) and there were 4 (IIRC) letters praising the Comrade. I thought it was a little suss at the time, especially because they were so close to each other in form and content. Funny shit.

Mr Evil 10:25 am 24 Aug 05

But Jon Stanhope IS wonderful, and we are just sooooooooo lucky to have him as our leader.

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