Matthew Franklin From:
August 05, 2010
THE Labor Party has been caught posting an incomplete transcript of a recent Julia Gillard interview on her official website.
It excised its references to her youthful involvement in the Socialist Forum.
The party also excluded from its official record criticism of the Prime Minister's proposal for a citizens' assembly to seek a consensus on climate change policy, along with questions over whether Labor had made deals with the Greens in return for electoral preferences.
The Australian has established that a transcript on Labor's website purporting to reflect an interview the Prime Minister gave on Sydney's 2GB on July 27 excludes several minutes of the interview, the equivalent of seven pages worth of transcript.
A Labor campaign spokesman said last night the omission -- the exclusion of a single chunk of about a third of the interview -- was the result of an oversight in the transcribing process. "It has now been fixed and replaced on the website," the spokesman said.
During the excised section of the interview, Jones asked about Ms Gillard's acknowledged involvement in the Socialist Forum, which he described as having been "formed from the old Communist Party". Jones said Ms Gillard had said in a radio interview three years ago she had been involved with the forum "more than 20 years ago" while the Parliamentary Register of Interests said she had been involved between 1998 and 2002. He also said a 1994 flyer for a Socialist Forum event described her as a member of its management committee.
It was at this point that Labor's transcript resumed. It correctly records Ms Gillard as saying she worked for the organisation at university and retained involvement when it merged with the Fabian Society.
Ms Gillard described Jones's questions as "a load of old cobblers" and strongly defended her record on national security, rejecting the relevance of her university activities to the current election campaign.
The transcript on the Labor website also excluded an exchange in which Jones referred to criticism of the proposed citizens' assembly.
It also excluded Jones's questioning Ms Gillard on whether Labor's preference deal with the Greens came with behind-the-scenes agreements on climate change policy. The Prime Minister insisted she had made no policy deals with the Greens.
Labor Party sources said last night the error was inadvertent; political operators knew that any attempt to doctor transcripts would inevitably be detected.
"If it had been doctored specific passages would have been excluded. But this was one chunk and it was just left out in error," one source said.