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DNA test reveals truth behind Abbott's 'son' -

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DNA test reveals truth behind Abbott's 'son'

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Kerry O'Brien: welcome to the program. First tonight, the latest incredible twist in what was
already one of the most fascinating political stories for a long time, certainly of a personal
kind. Just one month ago, it was revealed that Health Minister Tony Abbott had been reunited with
the son he and his then-girlfriend had given up for adoption 27 years ago. In a further twist, the
son was revealed as Daniel O'Connor, who had been working in Parliament House as an ABC sound
recordist. And tonight we learn that DNA tests have confirmed Tony Abbott is not Daniel's father.
Here's how the story first unfolded.

KATHY DONNELLY: He said, "Hello, Daniel?" I said, "Hello, Daniel. It is Kathy." He said, "Oh,
hello." I said, "Hello." Then we both started to laugh and we laughed and laughed and laughed. I
always thought I would cry, but it was joy and relief - just huge relief.

DANIEL O'CONNOR: I was quite shocked, really. I was surprised more than anything that I worked in
the same building as him and have met him on numerous occasions.

TONY ABBOT, HEALTH MINISTER: Well, I certainly was I suppose flabbergasted, but at the same time
thought to myself, "Well, what do you know, hey? Truth is stranger than fiction."

KERRY O'BRIEN: Did you have moments where you thought very basic things like, "Is he safe, is he
still alive? Is he happy, is he in poverty, is he well looked after?"

TONY ABBOTT: What are his interests? Is he an intellectual, is he a sportsman? You know, I must
confess I often fantasised about him being the kind of footballer that I'd always wished I would
have been, but wasn't, of course.

KERRY O'BRIEN: As your only son.

TONY ABBOTT: That's right. I mean, it is a trap that we parents often fall into of living our lives
through our kids and projecting our own sometimes unrealised hopes on to our kids. As I said, I
sometimes fantasised about Daniel being the kind of footballer, or the kind of debater, or the kind
of academic that I might have wanted at some stage of my life to be. He's turned out to be himself.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Himself, but not Tony Abbott's son.

So, how did tonight's further sensational news unfold that Tony Abbott is not Daniel O'Connor's
father? I'm joined now by political editor Michael Brissenden in Canberra.

Michael, what have we learnt since the story broke on the Seven Network tonight?

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, Kerry, we've certainly learnt, as Tony Abbott says, that truth is
stranger than fiction, there's no doubt about that. It seems what happened is when all of this got
into the public eye, a man who had known Kathy Donnelly at that time rang her up and said, "Listen,
I think he might be mine because he looks very much like my other son." This man has a couple of
other kids and he thinks that Daniel O'Connor looked very much like his other children. Then he
understand that Kathy then contacted Tony Abbott and said this man had rung and this was a
possibility. Tony Abbott then said, "Well, I had an inkling that something like this might be the
case." So DNA tests were done. Then obviously this week we've learnt that the DNA tests show that
Daniel O'Connor is not Tony Abbott's son. The new man that is the father has decided clearly he
doesn't want to go through the hoops that everybody else has gone through in this story so far and
he's staying out of the public spotlight.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, as you say, it's an extraordinary story, but I guess one great pity is that
there wasn't some DNA testing done beforehand - before the first - it first - well, when, I guess,
they knew it was first going to be exposed. Terribly awkward circumstance for anyone to have to

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, it's been, you know, an incredible circus since this story broke and
clearly it's affected a lot of people now we are talking about four or five families. Daniel's
adopted parents, as I understand it, are divorced. So there's five families here have been affected
by this. It really has been an incredible story and you have to feel for everybody that's been
involved in this so far.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The only one of those that is talking right now is Tony Abbott, albeit a little
reluctantly, but here's an excerpt of what Tony Abbott had to say at Sydney Airport tonight.

TONY ABBOTT, HEALTH MINISTER: Look, this has been the whole time since Christmas has been a bit
wild, frankly. To find the boy that I thought I had all of those years ago and to go through a
reunion and now to lose him like this is pretty shocking and I feel a bit numb about it all.

REPORTER: You said a while back you weren't sure how the story would end. Is it over now?

TONY ABBOTT: That's absolutely right. The truth is stranger than fiction. This story has certainly
developed some pretty surreal twists.

REPORTER: No, fairytale ending, minister, sadly?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, that's right, but, look, for Daniel and for Kathy I hope a continuing great
story. But, not one that will obviously involve me.

REPORTER: Closed a chapter on your life.

TONY ABBOTT: It seems so.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Michael, I don't know how you begin to isolate the politics from the human interest
side of this story and the personal story, but to the extend that you can, obviously this was a
very political issue up to the point where all was revealed a month ago. I mean, where does that
leave it?

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well, not only up to a month ago, I think this the whole idea that Tony Abbott
has thought he's had an illegitimate son for 27 years. It's been brought up in the Parliament in
the past and used against him because he is something of a morals crusader, and has made that very
much his own personal political platform, so it's been used against him in the past. It was used in
the context of the abortion debate that reared its head at the same time when all of this was being
discussed. So the political impact has been pretty significant for Tony Abbott, I'd suggest.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Michael, we might leave you to try and continue to wrap your own head around this,
but thanks for that.