Smart, highly competent and thick skinned. So why is Peta Credlin’s job on the line?
It is 4.45am as her alarm screeches in the pitch black signalling it’s time for another day of rolling controlled chaos.
As she turns it off and sits up in the freezing cold she briefly questions when was the last time she’s had more than four hours sleep in a row. Last night wrapped up around 1am after returning phone calls and reading briefing papers.
Almost instantly her phone beeps with a torrent of morning emails to read and then it rings. It is the early morning media conference call to go through the national headlines.
Today will be another huge, yet normal day. Travel to three cities, followed by an international flight for a major conference of world leaders.
It would be nice to take 60 seconds this morning to have a quiet coffee and look out the window at the icy Canberra street, but time never stops for the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.
This is her world.
Not just five days a week. It is her world seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
It is her world before eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom. It is her world before seeing her own friends and family.
Yes she is very powerful but there is little glamour or perks. When you work for a Prime Minister it is your whole life– for every living, breathing moment you exist.
You do not survive in a PM’s office unless you are smart, highly competent and very thick skinned. Clearly, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin is all of these things. So why is it that her job is now on the line?
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I don’t think it is because she is a woman. While it was a clever distraction for Tony Abbott to cast the criticism of his Chief of Staff in the gender light it is fanciful to suggest the reason his office is under siege is because his COS is a woman.
I do not think it is because of the much publicised fact Peta Credlin is married to the leader of the federal Liberal party. Welcome to Canberra, people. That how it rolls.
I do not think it is because of her “controlling management style”. News flash – she is the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. It is her job to be controlling.
And while the parliamentary press gallery and Government MP’s always want to see less control from the leader’s office, it is unrealistic. Leadership from the Prime Minister’s office is critical and a strong central government message is essential.
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So what is this really about? This is about a Prime Minister making a lot of poor decisions.