See update below.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
The “unpaid professional assistant” of Bess Price, the Country Liberals’ candidate for Stuart, says her opponent Karl Hampton has sent electioneering materials to friends of hers who don’t live in the electorate.
The assistant, Ms Price’s husband Dave, says it appears Mr Hampton has used a mailing list belonging to Ms Price without her permission.
The whole thing is a bit of a family affair but tempers are rising.
Mr Price said in a statement to the Alice Springs News Online, quoting from an email – now using the BCC rather than the CC function – which he sent to people on the list: “Karl Hampton, the NT Minister for Central Australia, Sport and Rec, Environment and Heritage etc, etc, is our nephew Warlpiri way and current member for the seat of Stuart and therefore Bess’ rival in the up coming election.
“Since these friends not only don’t live in the Stuart electorate or indeed in the NT they were wondering why a Minister in the NT government would want to let them know what he’s up to in the Stuart electorate.
“I apologise for the fact that I did not enter your addresses into the BCC field – I didn’t know what it was for.
“So it looks like one of the addressees is a strong enough supporter of Labor to pass on the list to Karl’s office. The result is this adolescent farce,” says Mr Price.
“I suggest that you all unsubscribe with a suitable expression of your feelings about the matter.
“Ok we have a population about the size of Geelong in an area of over 1.4 million square kilometres but we can be a little bit more sophisticated in the way we run our politics.
“Yes, you won’t see Karl much in the media in other states as he says, we don’t either, he has very little to say to the people of Central Australia, the people he is supposed to be responsible for in the current government.
“My apologies for my part in this farce, I’m learning to be snakier but the trouble is both Bess and I are very keen on honesty, so maybe I’m a slow learner.”
UPDATE JULY 30, 12:15pm
Hampton email recipient will “take this issue further”
A South Australian man who claims his email address was stolen by Labor MLA for Stuart Karl Hampton says he will take action against the Labor minister.
Greg Cox says he received on his email election material from Mr Hampton without having given him his address nor solicited information from him.
Mr Cox is a friend of Bess Price who is challenging Mr Hampton in the August 25 election for the Country Liberals.
She and her husband David say it is clear that a list of their friends’ email addresses was obtained by Mr Hampton. Many others received his material as well.
Most do not live in Mr Hampton’s electorate.
Mr Cox says he may have dropped the matter if he had received an apology from the minister “but I will now pursue the issue further”.
This is how it unfolded:-
July 25: Mr Hampton emails Mr Cox his “campaign news,” including “my electorate covers some of the most remote communities in the country … I’d like to introduce myself to you and keep you up to date with who I’m speaking to and what I’m standing for.”
July 27: Mr Cox replies, saying in part: “I understand that you gained my personal email from personal correspondence I have had with my good friend Dave Price.
“This is an unsolicited email using my email stolen via a third source that does your cause or that of the Australian Labor Party little good. I want to convey to you my disgust at this tactic.
“I have previously been a member of the Labor Party and one who continues to support my local member of Parliament in the Federal Electorate of Adelaide (Kate Ellis) and Labor candidates in the Liberal held state seat of Unley, by handing out how to vote cards and letter dropping .
“I will pass this email onto Kate Ellis in the hope that this unethical behavior does not raise its ugly head again within Labor ranks. It is the tactic of desperation and [has] no place in ethical politics.”
July 27: Mr Hampton emails back: “Just to clear up a misunderstanding – there was no theft of private information whatsoever. Your email address was in the public domain.
“You were sent this email as someone who had expressed an interest in Indigenous issues in the Northern Territory.”
July 29, Mr Cox to Mr Hampton: “This is political spin in an attempt to cover the truth.
“Once again I state that you would have only gained my email address from a personal email between my good friend Dave Price and I.
“This email address was not in the public domain nor did I express to you or any member of your staff an interest in Indigenous issues in the Northern Territory. I restate that you stole my address from a personal email conversation.
“I will now follow up this issue further.”
Is it any wonder that Karl Hampton has the reputation of being out touch when you consider the following?
The Alice Springs News Online sends drafts of most stories to our contacts prior to publication. This is never an invitation to censor but to point out errors and omissions, and to enjoy a fair right of reply.
Few journalists are as generous as this, but it works for us – contacts are more communicative because we almost always get things right.
We did the same with the above report, emailing a full draft of it to Mr Hampton to his personal email address at firstname.lastname@example.org to his office at email@example.com and his minder at firstname.lastname@example.org
The only reply we got was from Mr Luglietti, as follows: Erwin – the Minister get’s an abundance of media requests, and thus as you can and should appreciate, media requests should go to his media manager.
Note: Mr Luglietti’s response, far from appreciating the privilege extended to his master, fails to disclose the contact details of the media manager – and they change quite frequently.
I replied: Hi Gino, there is such a thing as “forwarding” emails. I can talk you through it, if you wish. Cheers, Erwin.
He replied: I know what forwarding is and how it works – though I don’t know what that has anything to do with you going direct to a minister for comment when you know the inquiry must go to his or her media adviser first to help manage the volume of requests.
See update below.