COMM 2654 (TUTORIAL EXERCISE #5): THE GOOLDING ENQUIRY

Anastasia McInerney

7 September, 2015

The Goolding Enquiry 

Independent Representative Fergus Williams confirmed he had discussions with Opposition leader Dan Miller at the Goolding Inquiry yesterday.

The inquiry was designed to investigate the suicide of National Health Services campaigner Douglas Tickell and the leaking of information between political parties and the media.

Should Mr Williams change his current allegiance, a new government could form with the Opposition having the majority in the House of Representatives.

“Politics is a war,” Opposition leader Dan Miller’s Media Advisor Malcolm Tucker said.

Mr Williams said there were “stubborn blockages” when trying to process ideas within the government.

The inquiry heard the testimony of Cabinet Office Director of Communication Stuart Pearson in relation to the leaking of Mr Tickell’s medical records to journalists.

Mr Pearson said there was “nothing” to be done about the illegal leaking of information in politics.

“It’s the way it’s done, no one dies,” Opposition leader Dan Miller’s Media Advisor Malcolm Tucker said.

Mr Pearson said a source had yet to be identified as responsible for leaked medical records which revealed Mr Tickell had a history of mental illness.

If you or someone you know is suffering from issues related to suicide with please seek help on the Lifeline contact on 13 11 14.

Questions:

  1. The main consideration in selecting the angle was the newsworthiness; though Douglas Tickell’s suicide was newsworthy, the discussions between the political parties proved to be more newsworthy and timely. Journalism’s role as the fourth estate in scrutinising those in authority and providing the public with information about the happenings in government dictated the angle of the story.
  2. The main legal implication was ensuring no one was defamed as a result of the article. Also, that there was no contempt of court in stating someone was guilty when the inquiry was still in process, and no one had been charged over the leaking.
  3. As in all hard news stories, the article had to be balanced, fair and accurate. As the hard news story involved Mr Tickell’s suicide, it also had to be sensitive to his family and possible readers suffering with issues related to suicide. Mr Miller also deserves a right of reply.
  4. I would contact Dan Miller next to obtain some quotes about the discussions between himself and Fergus Williams, and the possible change of government related to allegiances.
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