Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Daily Tele, rats and big cheese provide ingredients for a lively parliamentary opening

It's as if the editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph Paul Whittaker wanted to send a message to the Speaker of the House of Representatives with his front page today- Come on, I dare you!
Last year, after the paper ran a picture of Speaker Peter Slipper that was altered to include rats whiskers and a tail, the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, Robyn McClelland, wrote to Paul Whittaker:
Published on the front page of the newspaper and online is an image of the Speaker, taken during proceedings of the House of Representatives; the image has been digitally altered. The modification of this image is in clear breach of the Guidelines for Still Photography in the Chamber and resolutions of 16 October 1991 and 1 May 1996 relating to the use of broadcast footage of chamber proceeedings …
The McClelland letter went on to say she would refer the matter to parliament’s “media review” to “clarify restrictions” and threatened “sanctions” to be taken against the newspaper ”such as suspension of parliament house passes or withdrawal of access to the press gallery in the chamber”.

The response of the paper was immediate.

And if that was not provocative enough, there was this editorial"

I wrote in Crikey back then that having put Peter Slipper onto the Speaker’s chair, the Labor Party will find it difficult to avoid coming to the aid of his sergeant-at-arms when the House of Representatives returns from summer holidays. "I can hardly wait," I said.

Today's defiant ignoring of the warning letter will make matters even more interesting. If Peter Slipper is anything like the man described in this editorial he will surely be looking for revenge.

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