16 May 2019

Baseless smear drags police into Battle for Warringah

Tony Abbott’s office is using its right-wing media connections to push baseless claims against GetUp staff, with media ally Ray Hadley openly heavying NSW Police.


Tony Abbott’s office is using its right-wing media connections to push baseless claims against GetUp staff, with media ally Ray Hadley openly heavying NSW Police.

Local police have been publicly pressured to focus on a time-wasting dirt file falsely implicating GetUp in the distribution of inappropriate posters.

The Australian newspaper this morning revealed Tony Abbott’s office created a dossier of baseless and defamatory accusations about GetUp and GetUp staff that has put the wellbeing of staff and volunteers at risk.

These false allegations have now been partially reported by 2GB, News Corp’s The Australian, and right-wing blogger Michael Smith. GetUp is now considering legal action against all these outlets.

The accusations had been shopped around to numerous news outlets since Thursday, May 9. The Australian reported today that Abbott’s office pushed the police to investigate these baseless claims. GetUp can categorically say no staff were involved in the incident in any way. In fact one of the accused was interstate at the time.

Yesterday afternoon, 2GB’s Ray Hadley rang in to two separate 2GB programs to air the false accusations, revealing that he has been discussing the details of the case with the NSW Police Minister, and openly attempting to pressure NSW Police into charging a GetUp staff member, before any proper investigation. He told 2GB’s Chris Smith:

“There’s a question for Mick Fuller the (NSW Police) Commissioner, now, I know it’s a very sensitive time, but why aren’t they charged?”

“I mean the NSW Government is obviously very sensitive to all of this, you know, they want to make sure that it’s done by police and not by them, or directions from them, but the government and the minister responsible, David Elliott, knows who they are…”

Hadley’s broadcasts happened just hours before police made contact for the first time.

GetUp considers this to be no more than a politically motivated smear and as such, a disgraceful waste of police resources.

GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said:

“This is a last desperate throw of the dice by the Abbott campaign to deflect attention from the real concerns of the people of Warringah who want real action on climate change.”

“I call on the Police Commissioner to reassure the public his officers are not being exploited for political purposes.”