PM’s Australia Day staffer ‘acted within scope of duties’ inquiry finds

A screen grab of an AFP officer at the Survival Day protests in Canberra.

NATIONAL: A former member of Julia Gillard’s staff acted “within the scope of his duties” when he passed on information about Tony Abbott’s whereabouts that led to this year’s Australia Day protest.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has previously announced there was no evidence a criminal offence was committed when protesters were tipped off about the opposition leader’s presence at the Lobby Restaurant in Canberra.

But more details of the investigation into media adviser Tony Hodges’ role have now been revealed in documents released to News Limited under freedom of information laws.

The documents state Mr Hodges passed on information to union official Kim Sattler that was already “in the public domain”.

The adviser, who quit the the prime minister’s office following the incident in which Ms Gillard was rushed from the restaurant by her security team, accurately told Ms Sattler that Mr Abbott had suggested it was time for Aboriginal activists to “move on” from issues that led to the Aboriginal tent embassy being established in the 1970s.

“Mr Hodges accurately conveyed Mr Abbott’s message (and) Mr Hodges’ actions in contacting Ms Sattler were within the scope of his duties as a media adviser,” the federal police documents state.

The question of Mr Hodges’ judgment was “outside the scope of the AFP’s evaluation”.


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