It is one of those stories that you feel guilty about giggling at as you read it. But righteous indignation from a Murdoch paper about journalists hacking computers to get information really does have a humorous aspect.
And there it is on page one of The Australian this morning:
NSW police are close to completing a criminal investigation into computer hacking that led to confidential student records about a $60,000 scholarship granted to Tony Abbott’s daughter being leaked to the left-leaning, online magazine New Matilda.
Wendy Bacon, the prominent journalism teacher and contributing editor of New Matilda, has claimed the leaked information — which also involved a hacker allegedly gaining illegal access to the files of more than 500 other students — was justified in the public interest.
Leaving aside the pot-calling-the-kettle-black aspect, it is an interesting examination by the Oz of the way journalists may gain information and the legal and ethical implications of some of them; another example worth putting on the journalism school curriculum along with the Murdoch press exploits from the United Kingdom.
But what was lacking from this effort by the author Brad Norington is an examination of the merits or otherwise of the New Matilda assertion that the documents it had obtained showed a scholarship awarded to Frances Abbott by the Sydney-based Whitehouse Institute of Design was not based on merit and, being awarded to Ms Abbott only because her father was a “mate” of the institute’s chairman, thus should have been recorded on the Prime Minister’s register of interests.
This matter of substance was covered with “Mr Abbott has dismissed the suggestion he was required to declare a scholarship for his daughter, and the Whitehouse Institute claims it was awarded on merit.”