EN ROUTE to the golf club this morning, thoughts of putting the new Callaway driver to good use were pushed aside by the sudden, urgent need to find the brake pedal, pull over and try not to throw up. It was Jon Faine’s ABC radio show that did it, more particularly his quite astonishing conversation with Age investigative reporter Michael Bachelard, who has two stories in this morning’s paper about Sophie Mirabella, her former relationship with a much older man and his estranged children’s apparent suspicion that the Liberal MP alienated their father’s affections in order to plunder his estate.
The story itself is dubious enough. Even by Bachelard’s account, Mirabella had long-standing (and horizontal) ties with former law professor Colin Howard. She appears to have looked after him during his decline into dementia, and he seems to have been genuinely fond of her, even after their relationship foundered and she married another. The kids are complaining that he gave Mirabella money to win her seat and, later, to help her buy a Wangaratta home. They also believe her to be the sole beneficiary of his estate, said to be worth around $1 million.
There is no point in recapping the details at greater length. They are available here and here. What needs to be mentioned – and borne in mind by anyone tempted to purchase another copy of the Age as produced by its current staff and management – is Bachelard’s rationale for the public’s “right” to know of some very nasty family business. A trained reporter would have taken down the quote verbatim, but here is an amateur’s rendering as scratched on the back of a scorecard with the stub of a blunt pencil. Remember, what follows is not verbatim, but it certainly captures the gist of Bachelard’s justification for dragging the feud into print:
FAINE: How do you justify this intrusion?BACHELARD: Well, if Craig Thomson can be investigated for using union credit cards to hire prostitutes, Mirabella’s relationship with Howard and what his children are saying is fair game.
Again, that is a paraphrase. If the transcript is published on the ABC site, it will be added to this post. In the meantime, though, consider the tortured logic The Age applies to its selection of worthy stories: Craig The Brothel Creeper, is copping flak, therefore it is fair and just to give a bit of the same to a Liberal.