An Australian Prime Ministerial staffer has been linked to yesterday's ugly protest incident in Canberra, forcing his resignation and acutely embarrassing PM Julia Gillard.
In an early evening statement, the Prime Minister dismissed as 'false' claims that one of her staff had spoken to people at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy prior to yesterday's angry protest that temporarily trapped her and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
But Ms Gillard acknowledges that a member of her media unit 'did call another individual yesterday and disclose the presence of the Opposition Leader at the Lobby restaurant. This information was subsequently passed on to a member of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.'
The Prime Minister says the media officer did not 'suggest or encourage violence' but that his action 'was an error of judgement. As such, the staff member's resignation has been accepted.'
He is Tony Hodges, one of four press secretaries working in Julia Gillard's media unit.
The link is deeply embarrassing for the Prime Minister and leaves her shouldering some of the blame for an incident where many had pinned responsibility on Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.
Tony Abbott is right to be calling for an official inquiry into this incident, despite the resignation/sacking of Tony Hodges (take your pick; did he fall or was he pushed?). It's a dirty trick of the worst possible kind, but there's a karmic element in that Julia Gillard bore the brunt of the protest from the Tent People.
But it made us wonder; given that Tony Hodges is now without work, will he be receiving a phone call from Trevor Mallard offering him a job on this side of the ditch?