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Slip up from PM's office shows what politicians are told to say

OPINION

We’ve all made that mistake where we accidently send an email to the wrong person, or cc’d the actual colleague that we’re complaining to others about.

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I used to work in a company where everyone’s email was based on their position,. Unfortunately it was a multinational company with offices around the world, and an easy auto-fill by a computer could see you email being catapulted to the office in Singapore, Thailand or the Caribbean instead of the person with the same job title who was just down the hall. It caused endless confusion.

A few years ago a producer at the Blue Room confused the email list for media and VIPs with the email list for people who volunteer at the front of house. A request to greet patrons at the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday shows was sent to the media. I took it in good humour and offered to do Thursday – I think I did a good job too.

My partner was working overseas a few years ago and sent me a message saying he was feeling ill today and wasn’t going into the office. Unfortunately a subordinate sent me a nearly identically worded message a few minutes later. Not noticing the new message arrive, I told a work colleague that I loved them and they should get lots of sleep, before signing off with nickname. The moment I realised what I’d done I was filled with dread.

There’s nothing like that moment. So feel sorry for the person in the Prime Minister’s office who this morning sent 14 pages of ‘talking points’ not to members of the government, but the entire Canberra press gallery.

The opposition has held up copies during question time, and every time a government MP has appeared before the cameras today journalists have been taunting them and ticking off the correct responses to curly questions.

The inner workings of the government spin machine have been exposed, and it’s been greeted with a mix of comic responses and serious concerns.

The team over at Guardian Australia has fact checked the responses suggested to government MPs and the result is one that will not surprise anyone. Politicians it turns out don’t tell the whole truth.

When it comes to the religious discrimination legislation MPs were given three points to make, it turns out none of them were entirely true.

Head of the The Guardian to see the gap between the claims and reality. 

Graeme Watson


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