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Kelly seemed involved, court told [Apr. 30th, 2008|08:50 am]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |hungryhungry]

Sydney Morning Herald April 30th.....

Geesche Jacobsen
April 30, 2008

THE former federal Liberal MP Jackie Kelly appeared "at the face of it to be involved" in the fake leaflet affair in her western Sydney seat at the last election, a court has heard.

A volunteer who was asked to distribute the leaflets - and who faced court yesterday with four others, including the husbands of Ms Kelly, the retiring MP, and the Liberal candidate contesting the seat - might have been entitled to think it had been approved, because he had been asked to meet at Ms Kelly's home, his barrister said yesterday.

The party machine also owed its volunteers a "duty of care" not to ask them to engage in unethical and criminal behaviour, the barrister and former NSW Liberal Party vice-president, Alex Howen, told the Downing Centre Local Court.

Five men were accused of allegedly breaching federal election legislation by distributing a brochure that did not bear the names, address and authorisation of their political masters. The brochure, distributed by the Liberal Party volunteers, was claimed to have been published by the fake "Islamic Australia Federation", and bore the ALP insignia.

But the magistrate, Pat O'Shane, said the stupid and offensive action was "an ugly chapter" and the community had shown its view of it already. The Liberal Party lost the seat of Lindsay, which Ms Kelly had held with a margin of almost 10 per cent.

The Daily Telegraph April 30th .....

'Ugly, stupid' Liberal stunt over racist pamphlet

By Lisa Davies and Edith Bevan

April 30, 2008 12:00am

A KEY player in the Liberal party's racist pamphlet scandal has fallen on his sword, pleading guilty as a magistrate branded the incident as indicative of "an ugly chapter" in Australia's political history.

Five men faced Downing Centre Local Court charged with distributing the fake flyers in the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, then held by retiring Liberal Jackie Kelly.

The flyers - which portrayed Labor as sympathetic to Islamic extremism - were distributed just days before November's federal election day.

The scandal was broken exclusively by The Daily Telegraph on the Thursday before polling day.

Ms Kelly's husband Gary James Clark has pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the court was told at least one co-accused assumed the "stupid" flyers had the approval of Ms Kelly, a former minister.

Greg Chijoff - the now estranged husband of Karen Chijoff, who had replaced Ms Kelly as Liberal candidate for the seat - pleaded guilty to the flyers' distribution and will be sentenced next month.

Another of the accused - Troy Matthew Craig, 37 - also pleaded guilty, with Magistrate Pat O'Shane describing the episode as "absolutely witless, stupid, dumb and offensive".

"Indeed, at the time of this offence coming to public notice, there was almost instantaneous public outrage (and) national opprobrium," she said.