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The criminal on the PM's plane and other absurdities of a secretive democracy

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22.10.2019

Kevin Rudd’s plane had taken an unusual detour on the return journey from the 2008 APEC meeting in Chile, going via Hawaii rather than Auckland.

Detours on domestic and international journeys were not that uncommon for the peripatetic Kevin707, so few in the travelling media pack thought much of it.

Replay

We grumbled because it meant taking the long way home and the mild inconvenience of checks by US Custom and Border Security but, as we were on the Australian PM’s jet, even that was bound to be a breeze.

No one had any reason to sweat the refuelling stopover of a few hours, except, of course, for the convicted criminal in our midst.

As we disembarked, and handed over our passports and paperwork, the criminal was spotted and singled out by US officials. For his crimes he was taken and held apart from the rest of the pack for the duration of the stay and escorted back to the plane when it departed.

The criminal was the Melbourne Herald Sun’s political reporter Gerard McManus. A little over a year earlier he had pleaded guilty to five counts of contempt in the Victorian County Court. His colleague Michael Harvey pleaded guilty on four counts.

Their crime was refusing the court’s direction to name the source of a story they penned in February 2004, which........

© The Age