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Perhaps not. Language a guide to finding Labor's leaker.

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Media Release


Perhaps not. Language a guide to finding finding Labor's leaker "Never was a comment so anonymous"- Kim Beazley comment on finding Labor’s leaker at today’s media conference.

I share Kim Beazley’s concerns about the derogatory language used by one of his colleagues to describe the shadow aboriginal affairs portfolio.

Language is often a trademark of an individual. Paul Keating’s vitriol being one example and Kim Beazley’s prolix prose another of the way people can be identified by their language and use of words.

To assist Kim Beazley in his pursuit of this individual I am releasing a content analysis of statements made by opposition spokespeople using the word "Titanic". I have ruled out "poisoned chalice" as being so clichéd as to be useless in identifying the perpetrator of this attack on aboriginal affairs.

The word search was done through the "Parl-Info" data base and should assist Kim Beazley in short listing possible suspects.

Below is a list of Labor’s front bench spokespeople who have used Titanic in various speeches.

Joel Fitzgibbon

"It takes a long time to turn the Titanic around. It is much easier to turn around a small and efficient unit." (Hansard 11 April 2000)

Daryl Melham

"We are waiting for the Prime Minister to launch a ship that actually floats. Initially it was mateship. That has sunk without trace. Now it is kinship. That will sink faster than the Titanic, because it is not appropriate. Why? … Aden Rideway is now the token indigenous person consulted." (Hansard 11 August 1999)

Senator John Faulkner

"The ANTS package is a bit like the Titanic - this huge vessel that looks okay but they have covered up the fact that they have skimped on the lifeboats. What happens when we hit the first economic iceberg? The rich on the top decks will probably be okay, but the steerage passengers are going to drown." (Hansard 29 April 1999)

Michael Lee

"Seeing that the Howard government’s Titanic is taking on water, the minister for health is abandoning Chisholm." (Hansard 26 March 1998)

Senator Chris Schacht

"He also defended himself with phrases like the Marie Celeste and the Titanic. I think it very appropriate that he made the Freudian slip of mentioning the Titanic as it reflects his own performance." ( Hansard 23 October 1997)

Senator Jacinta Collins

"Why immediately after the decision was handed down, were the federal and state governments frantically scrambling around trying to find a solution to a $5 billion disaster like passengers on the Titanic seeking lifeboats?" (Hansard 4 September 1997)

Senator Peter Cook

"Any words we might hear from the Prime Minister about how he might tweak the system to make it marginally better, based on what he learnt from New Labour in London, are about moving the deckchairs on the Titanic." (Hansard 27 August 1997)

"One of the things the Opposition has said in this debate, and to which Senator Durack referred again tonight, is the tired, worn out, clapped out cliché of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as if that -by repetition - somehow gains truth and authenticity." ( Hansard 5 December 1985)

"We could also ask whether MacDonalds would resist the temptation to take a greater profit share if youth wages were cut. Given the dimensions of this problem, that is a trite and in many respects a pathetic response. The deck chairs on the Titanic would only be shifted if that was the level of concentration and public debate on this most important report and the Minister’s statement." ( Hansard 19 March 1985)

"If one considers the supplement of Medicare to be introduced from 1 February, one sees that its cost and associated savings in terms of the consumer price index will help redress the ship and bring the economy around much more. It is better than the Titanic the former government was in charge of." (Hansard 31 May 1983)

After analysing these speeches and the factions from which the authors come you could logically rule out Jacinta Collins, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Michael Lee.

Darryl Melham, whilst a member of the left, can also be discounted. After all it was his gesture that forced the ALP Left into saying aboriginal affairs was a "poisoned chalice" and a job for a "Titanic toilet cleaner."

Senator Peter Cook uses the word prolifically, but more in the usual clichéd manner of "moving the deck

chairs on the Titanic" etc, while Senator Chris Schacht has on occasion made use of the word.

Senator John Faulkner has also used references to Titanic in speeches but not in a clichéd manner. He is also a leading member of the Left and his use of language is also revealing.

In the same speech as he makes reference to the Titanic he uses rich inflammatory language such as "Why are we here debating this stinking dead cat" and "a sleazy and deceitful strategy" among other pearlers.

This language, this use of words, is similar in vein and vernacular to the jibe "like a toilet cleaner on the Titanic".

Whilst not conclusive this word and language search is a starting point for Kim Beazley to flush out those on his front bench who believe aboriginal affairs to be beneath them and their faction.







For further information contact:

Ian Hanke  0419 484 095