Another day and more information about Canberra’s almost authoritarian desire to suck up to Washington. Please America, protect us from invasion by (insert country here but make sure it’s full of brown people):
Julia Gillard’s speechwriter has been a confidential source of information for United States embassy officials in Australia.
US diplomatics cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that the Prime Minister’s speechwriter Michael Cooney had been designated a “protected” source by the US embassy.
Cable 08CANBERRA609, sent on June 13, 2008, reveals that Mr Cooney, a former senior adviser to Labor leaders Mark Latham and Kim Beazley, spoke in glowing terms of his future boss to US officials.
The cable states that Mr Cooney, speaking before he took up the job with Ms Gillard, told US officials:”She has been very impressive as a minister: knowledgeable on the issues, listens to advice from subordinates and civil servants and is not afraid to delegate responsibility.”
It is unclear if Mr Cooney remains a protected US source, and he was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Australian Online.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “The government has made it clear that it will not be commenting on the contents or veracity of confidential US cables.”
Mr Cooney’s comments on Ms Gillard are contained in a cable sent by former US ambassador to Australia Robert MacCallum.
The cable states that: “Two stars have emerged in the government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: Rudd himself and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.”
The cable focuses on the prominence Ms Gillard had achieved since Labor won government in November 2007, stating: “Through the first seven months of the Rudd government, Gillard is the only ALP politician who has approached PM Rudd in national prominence.”
In the same section containing Mr Cooney’s comments, titled “Gillard the pragmatist”, another protected source, NSW Labor aenator and powerbroker Mark Arbib described Ms Gillard as “one of the most pragmatic politicians in the ALP”, while Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes, another protected source, points out that although she is a member of Labor’s left faction “she votes with the Right”.
Capital Circle understands that Ms Gillard and Mr Cooney developed a good working relationship during the period in which Mark Latham was leader of the ALP.
Mr Cooney kept his job as a senior policy adviser for Mr Beazley when he took over as Labor leader in early 2005, but he stopped working as a federal Labor staffer when Kevin Rudd took over from Mr Beazley, as the pair are said to have had a fractious relationship.
Mr Cooney went to work for left wing think-tank Per Capita, before becoming chief of staff to ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr.