I'm on a boat
Link: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,,26749647-3102,00.htmlIT was the night a young Lion roared but was seemingly silenced by the might of the public relations machine.
A 19-year-old Lions service club volunteer who suggested the PM was "too stingy to buy a $2 scratchie ticket", was gagged within two hours of The Sunday Mail attempts to investigate her claims.
It all began with an email from the teenage fundraiser who was selling $2 footy doubles in the corporate dining area of last weekend's Indigenous All Stars game at Skilled Stadium.
"We were going around the tables in the function room with most people buying tickets gladly to support the Lions Club," she said.
"I then approached the table where the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was sitting. Not only was he too stingy to buy a ticket, he wouldn't even look me in the eye and completely ignored me. His was the only table that didn't buy any tickets. I am upset that he would treat a volunteer this way and was disinterested in supporting the Lions club."
Two hours later, after the intervention of the PM's office, the NRL PR machine and the Lions club, the teen changed her mind, saying she'd been reprimanded for speaking out.
In public office, Mr Rudd and his fellow politicians constantly get fundraiser requests to buy tickets in raffles, lotteries and auctions.
In response to this email, The Sunday Mail contacted the volunteer, conducted an interview and, satisfied she was genuine, contacted the Prime Minister's press secretary Fiona Sugden for comment.
One hour later it came with one line amounting to Mr Rudd fully supporting the Lions club.
Then, 20 minutes later, the NRL's director of media and communications, John Brady, rang The Sunday Mail, wanting to know where it was going.
"How can you believe this girl? Why would the PM ignore her? This is just muckraking," he said.
Mr Brady then provided contact details for a Lions club representative who would confirm the story was rubbish.
When contacted, Lions spokesman John Clarke said nobody in his group would have made such a statement.
An hour later, the volunteer changed her mind, sending a second email that retracted her earlier comments.
She said: "I've been reprimanded by the Lions club for speaking on their behalf without authorisation. The Lions club is apolitical and must be seen that way.
"I'm sure that you are aware that the Lions club works hard for the benefit of all in the community and that the fundraiser at the Titans game is a significant event for the club. I am not available for further comment."
Following on the tail of the stories from just the other week, of attempts to get online blog comments restricted and the anti Kevin Rudd groups disappearing from Facebook despite not breaking any rules... Hm.... Makes you wonder...
Perhaps he should spend less time worrying about being popular and "cool" and more time doing at least an adequate job of running the country...
edit: Wait a minute, if she's a volunteer, how have they shut her up? It's not as though they could threaten her with losing a paying job...