Australian Parliament censures former prime minister Julia Gillard over sex with a teenage member of Parliament
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been forced to sack the editor of the Australian newspaper after the newspaper ran a front-page story condemning her handling of the treatment of a teenage MP who became pregnant during his relationship with his staffer.
The story was leaked to the newspaper by a member of Mr Shorten’s staff, and caused enormous political damage for Ms Gillard and her Government.
On Tuesday, the Liberal Senator Eric Abetz called on Mr Shorten to step down from the leadership.
This morning, Fairfax Media revealed that the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Rupert Cornthwaite, had resigned following his paper’s refusal to print the story.
In a statement to Fairfax Media, Mr Cornthwaite said the paper was in “full co-operation” with the Coalition’s press office in the wake of the story.
“After a long and sordid history of press intrusion into the media’s role as a public guardian of the rule of law, the media has finally decided to take our lead role in keeping politicians and decision-makers accountable.
“As Fairfax Media Editor-at-Large, I will be a champion of this campaign, which has the potential to change the way the public and the media interact with politicians, and will be one of the leading writers and editors in this war of words and actions.
“I believe this moment in history may be the beginning of a new era of responsible and accountable politicians.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has lost three consecutive Newspolls: last week, the Coalition lost a majority in the Senate and won only a minority in the House of Representatives while Labor and the Nick Xenophon Team both won a majority in the House and Senate.
Labor’s Nick Xenophon is not the first Australian to feel vindicated by the decision by editors and journalists to print stories critical of his political rivals.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to sue the Seven Network for libel was based on stories by Seven journalists about his dealings with Chinese businessmen, and Seven’s decision to defend its decision by calling the stories false.
In 2011, Labor leader Julia Gillard’s former staffer David Feeney, who was in an extra-