15 February 2013

The ABC goes Canberra Confidential

| johnboy
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annabel crabb

The ABC want you to know they’re having a look at the darker side of Canberra:


Nothing much happens in Canberra, never has. That’s what most people think. ABC presenter Annabel Crabb is set to change your mind in Canberra Confidential, a revealing and whimsical rummage through a century of secrets in our nation’s capital. It’s the history Canberra has tried to hide. While Canberra celebrates its centenary in March, there’s no better time to lay bare its past scandals and secrets.

Annabel dishes the dirt on a series of almost forgotten scandals, spectacular political skulduggery and espionage sagas that rocked the nation. Along the way, she meets with players, prime ministers, reporters and the victims of some of the nation’s greatest scandals. There’s even a memorable encounter with Australia’s spy master-in-chief, ASIO boss David Irvine.

Among the surprising gems is the mystery of “Rosie’s Suitcase”, the murky insides of which throw light on the after-hours temptations for our 1930’s federal politicians. The X-rated contents are a blackmailer’s dream…and maybe that’s exactly what was intended. Annabel concludes the written confessions of Rosie and Joan’s liaisons may well have been part of the nation’s first political dirt file.

Another coup is David Combe, who breaks a 30-year silence about the events of 1983 when, after a successful career as the ALP’s Federal Secretary, he was dragged into a spy scandal that sent the newly elected Hawke Government into a spin. Over a Russian salad, he tells Annabel about his friendship with Valery Ivanov, his mate from the Soviet Embassy, and the drunken conversations between them that ASIO was secretly taping.

Bob Hawke’s ruthless actions to quarantine the government against the political fallout of the Combe/Ivanov affair ruined the career of one of Labor’s favourite sons and led to the expulsion of the alleged Soviet spymaster Ivanov. “There was a lot of soft, clammy nonsense about being nice to David,” a steely Hawke tells Annabel. “I thought it was rather better to be nice to the party and save the Government.” Three decades on, there’s no love lost. “Bob’s a pretty narcissistic fellow,” says Combe. “I was expendable and therefore had to be expended”.

She meets Canberra’s exotic “scarlet woman” of the mid 70s, Junie Morosi. And finds out, from “Deep Throat” and journalist Philip Dorling, what it’s like to have your house raided by government security agents – twice!

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Hope they have the one about the middle east finance broker, the high speed chase with a ComCar through Canberra and the shoe buff room. Damn people think the current government is messed up, they should have tried living with Whitlam.

Billy_Shears9:39 pm 15 Feb 13

Good to see Annabel doing more projects like this, I really enjoyed her work on Kitchen Cabinet – a nice balance of political yarns, cooking and personal insights from the key players.

Love the period look she’s got going on in the promo shot as well!

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