Reports the Prime Minister’s office encouraged protesters to target Tony Abbott over tent embassy

by on 27 January, 2012

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THE Prime Minister is yet to respond today to a report that one of her staffers rang an Aboriginal tent embassy protester yesterday to say Tony Abbott wanted the camp torn down.

An announcement by protester and Greens's candidate Barbara Shaw that Mr Abbott wanted the tent embassy removed sparked a near riot, forcing Ms Gillard and the Opposition leader to flee a Canberra restaurant.

Sydney radio presenter Ray Hadley today said he'd received information that Ms Shaw or another protester had received a call from a Gillard staffer about comments Mr Abbott made earlier in the day about the tent embassy.

"Once she was told that, she was also told Mr Abbott was across the road, 'maybe you can give them a bit of a liven up'," the 2GB presenter told his audience today.

"Barbara Shaw then went on stage and for all intents and purposes, incited people."

The Australian Online has contacted Ms Gillard's office over the allegation but is yet to receive an official response.

Mr Abbott earlier declared he'd been "verballed" by protesters, saying he had not said the tent embassy should be removed.

 

If this turns out to be true, someone in the PM’s office will be looking for a new job.

I would also like to say that the PM emerged from this riot with her honour intact.

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AS the hammering on the glass grew louder and the security detail grew increasingly anxious, Julia Gillard’s thoughts turned to Tony Abbott.

Trapped for the past half-hour inside Canberra’s popular The Lobby restaurant by up to 100 bellowing protesters from the nearby Aboriginal tent embassy, the Prime Minister formed a huddle with her minders.

“We feel that the situation is deteriorating and (we) can’t stay too much longer,” one told her.

“OK. All right,” the Prime Minister replied calmly. “What about Mr Abbott? Where have you got him?”

Minder: “Ah, over there.”

Gillard: “We’d better help him through too, hadn’t we?”

Minder: “Yeah, sure.”

Update:

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A junior adviser to Julia Gillard has resigned after revealing Tony Abbott's presence at an Australia Day function yesterday in a move that sparked a violent protest by Aboriginal activists.

Media adviser Tony Hodges was forced to stand aside after the "error of judgment", the Prime Minister's office confirmed tonight.

It said Mr Hodges informed a "stakeholder" of Mr Abbott's attendance at an Australia Day function with Ms Gillard, and the information was subsequently passed on to members of the Aboriginal tent embassy.

 

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