I don't use the c-word, but I do use the f-word pretty freely, and I can tell you that Kevin Rudd is a f***ing awful person.Rudd’s response has been to “refute” the allegation, i.e. to deny it, and to threaten to “take legal action for defamation”.
Ah, this takes me back. When I was at Metro – this was the late 80s, early 90s – in the days when there was a lot of writ-wrangling, we got a lot of calls from people threatening to take legal action for defamation. They were always put through to me, because then editor Warwick Roger wouldn’t take calls. I was deputy editor, and I would take calls. It was most instructive.
Basically, people rang because they were unhappy with something we had published, perhaps in the Ferret. I would talk calmly and politely to them and explain the law. They would demand an apology and a retraction in the next issue. I would say no, that there had been no libel, and would suggest that they talk to their solicitor who would give them exactly the same legal advice but would charge heaps for what I had just told them for free. We would never hear from them again.
The thing is, when we did get sued – and we did (you have no idea how much a libel writ for $1 million concentrates the mind, but I have because I received one) – we never got a threatening phone call in advance. We just got a writ.
In June 1993 I published the first issue of the magazine this blog is based on. A couple of days after publication date I received a phone call from someone mentioned on pages 14-16 in a story by Keith Stewart. She was unhappy and threatened to take legal action for defamation. I talked calmly and politely to her and explained the law. She demanded an apology and a retraction in the next issue. I said no, that there had been no libel, and suggested that she talk to her solicitor who would give her exactly the same legal advice but would charge heaps for what I had just told her for free. I never heard from her again.
So I will be very interested to see if Kevin Rudd follows through on his threat to sue. Doubt it. Sounds like bluster, buster.