October 04, 2003


Margo Kingston warned John Howard two years ago that it was dangerous to get too close to One Nation, and wondered if the Prime Minister was “flirting” with the crazy fringe party. Scary!

Apparently those dangers are gone. Margo now admits to lobbying One Nation senator Len Harris on cross media laws -- a curious role for a journalist:

Len's an old gold miner from North Queensland. He talks slow and has excellent manners and a good heart. I lobbied him on cross media in June with trepidation, as the last time we'd come face to face was in Longreach during the 1998 election, when we had a row on the Wik legislation.

Margo’s lobbying would appear to place her at odds with The Sydney Morning Herald’s code of ethics:

Herald staff shall avoid any prominent activity in partisan public causes that compromises, or appears to compromise, the journalist or the newspaper.

Perhaps that doesn’t apply to Margo, who by her own account is no longer a journalist. She’s a pure politician, working with other politicians (such as Harris) and forging powerful new alliances:

He knew exactly what was at stake on cross media though, and we smiled at our unlikely alliance. It reminded me of the experience of a friend of mine, a member of a minor party, in 1998. She'd done a radio interview during which she praised Pauline Hanson for demanding a boost in spending on public education, only to be roundly castigated by some colleagues for sleeping with the enemy. But hell, most of us have common ground on some things - why are we so loathe to admit it and work together when we can?

Over to you, SMH ethics people.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 4, 2003 11:16 AM

Anyway, it's ok to lobby for 'good causes' it's just when it's someone else that it's not ethical.

No one's ever called my lobbying for free Bundy unethical, least of all me.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at October 4, 2003 at 12:08 PM

Seriously I worked with Len Harris up in North Queensland. He was the gold room foreman at Red Dome gold mine - I was plant metallurgist(it has since shutdown). Sure he was a good bloke but he you had to watch the bugger. Sometimes wouldn't work in an iron lung. I couldn't believe it when I found out that he had become a senator.... mind you when I heard that he was with one nation it kind of figured.

I remember one time he put all these speakers in the gold room so that he could listen to his music whilst he was "working". Ended up shorting out the whole gold room and wrecking them.

Well spoken - yes, full of shit - yes. Forever sucking up to upper management in his donga (known as Lenny's tavern). I guess that is why he gets on with Margo so well. I will try and remember any other details about the old bugger that I can.

Posted by: Rob at October 4, 2003 at 12:50 PM

Isn’t it just a bit presumptuous to pigeonhole Margo Kingston as a journalist? She is elemental, protean, self-redefining at every moment. Words like “journalist,” “human,” “species,” & “nature” may be no more applicable in her case than they are to Al Gore’s.

Posted by: ForNow at October 4, 2003 at 02:49 PM

SMH has ethics people??? get the fuck outahere!!!

Posted by: JB at October 5, 2003 at 12:36 AM