Government paid $400,000 ‘hush money’ to school to shut up (he said – she said something else).

In a new high watermark in he said she said journalism the ABC news tonight had a story of a school that ‘someone said’ had been “paid off” to keep silent about education spending overruns.  The story seemed to be this: Some school community had complained that they couldn’t get anything useful done with their money.  A government pollie came and saw them and told them that this was the best offer they would get. Some disgruntled people in the school community took this as a ‘threat’. The ‘threat’ amounted to the proposition that the community would need to spend this money or they would lose it.

The school subsequently got offered an additional $400,000 which they spent.  Someone said (he said) that this was hush money to prevent the school from speaking out about things. The state education minister (she said) that this claim was absurd.  It seems absurd.

But the ABC news reported this in such a way that if you were not concentrating you would get the impression that money had been slipped out the door to keep people quiet – that it really was hush money.  Well anything’s possible, but I was amazed. The proposition that it really was hush money wasn’t really treated seriously by the story – that is, given that it’s a pretty striking allegation you’d expect some probing of the person who said it was hush money to find out exactly what he meant and what his evidence was. No such luck – just a nice expression that rolled off the tongue of the accuser. I think he meant $400,000 to keep us quiet, shut us up, as in ‘keep us happy’. There seemed no serious allegation that there was any concerted effort to really make it clear that it was money provided on condition of silence.  But that’s what anyone watching the bulletin who was not paying close attention would have assumed.

I was truly amazed.

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dorinny
11 years ago

It seems quite sensational, but then when you consider issues such as the Heiner affair, or the Government’s splurge on a bid to bring the FIFA World Cup to Oz, it seems that this government is quite capable of spending Australian taxpayers money on pretty much anything..

John Ryan
John Ryan
11 years ago

For Gawds sake don’t tell me we still have people who believe in the Heiner BS, how many times does this pet load of crap by Ackerman and the right wing loonies who follow him have to be debunked.
Hedley Thomas did it in the OZ not so long ago,no wonder PT Barnum was on a winner with the there’s a sucker born every minute

Livewire
Livewire
11 years ago

No great conspiracy here.

Just the ABC cutn’pasting articles from ‘the Australian’
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/school-got-400000-hush-payment/story-e6frg6nf-1225886417348

(And don’t even get me started about people who quote Piers Akerman – about Heiner of all things!)

Mobius Ecko
Mobius Ecko
11 years ago

…and the previous government didn’t dorinny? Even Costello pointed out Howard’s wasteful spending habits.

…and Abbott won’t? He’s already gone back on his word of not being a big spender if in government by promising some fairly expensive policies along with the Nationals releasing their policy platforms to differentiate themselves from the Liberals, and they want large amounts of spending undertaken in rural areas.

Don’t make out that in this area any one flavour of government is different to the other. When it comes to spending tax payers money for political gain they all equally have their noses in the trough.

Butterfield, Bloomfiled & Bishop
Butterfield, Bloomfiled & Bishop
11 years ago

dorinny like the Catrallaxy crackpots seems unable to to discern the Fedearal government from the State government.

dorinny
11 years ago

Oh, sorry, I was under the misapprehension that both State Government and Federal Government were run by the Labor party…

State Branches

Just as Australia is a nation of federated states, Australian Labor is a Party of federated branches from every State and Territory. Each State branch provides organisational support for the local branches and electorate councils of that State working closely with the State Labor Parliamentary Groups.


http://www.alp.org.au/who-we-are

Funny, how I’m now a ‘crackpot’ because I posted two articles. Cheers!

Butterfield, Bloomfiled & Bishop
Butterfield, Bloomfiled & Bishop
11 years ago

thanks for confirming

hortma
hortma
11 years ago

Nick, a good example of Jonathon Holmes’ ‘ABC he said/she said’. For me, govt. initiatives/programs come and go, but how the public broadcaster takes a stance, or doesn’t, to public policy and reform initiatives that remains the longterm issue. Yes, govts. need to be accountable to the media, but it doesn’t seem to be a level playing field.

On the one side you have minsiters and the like who need to push their claims and dodge loaded headline-seeking questions fired at them from someone like Benson, Curtis, O’Brien or Uhlmann. And on the other side you have The Australian and/or anyone who wants to resist a reform. In the case of the RSPT, the mining sector certainly didn’t seem to be held to the same standards of accountability – would a Mithc Hooke, for example, be obligated to front up to Kerry O’Brien? As Geoff Winestock alluded to in his column today about Norway’s version of the RSPT, if the Min Council doesn’t want to answer a question… they don’t. Simple as that. (Even Clive Palmer appears to have learnt that lesson!)

Livewire’s probably right, it was probably just a bit of lazy churnalism. But The Oz doesn’t need to seek balance, and it’s playing a long game to actively influence what govts do. On the other hand the ABC seems to be obsessed with ‘balance’, but it’s not the sort of balance that gives one an impression of the legitimacy or scale of the opposing views. Instead we’re served up with:
– CPRS to get us started on the long path to carbon controls VS Climategate
– BER compensating for limited private construction and 96% of school principals happy w. program VS a dozen or so claims of rorts from unhappy P&Cs
– RSPT to spread the wealth/prevent Dutch Disease VS we’re closing down (non-existent or borderline) mines and then “we’ll all be rooned”.

The only time the ABC really seems to burr up and take a stance is when The Oz has a crack at them directly.

pablo
pablo
11 years ago

Yes it was an amazing beat up in a week where the ABC is still crowing about their journos being first with the Gillard coup. Let’s see what Media Watch do with it. I reckon the headmaster who took on the building supervisory job, ignoring State Government warnings?/reminders? about financial risks, saving us tax-payers thousands, getting extras for the kids, deserves a gong.