By AMY STOCKWELL
This week, an Australian newspaper appears to have become an accomplice in a campaign of family violence against a Senator.
In publishing the most deeply personal elements of emails between Senator Nova Peris and Trinidadian athlete Ato Bolden, the NT News has compounded a violent act apparently designed to humiliate, coerce and manipulate the Senator in a dispute about child access and financial settlement.The cover of the NT News
It was an act of violence designed, according to Senator Peris, to force her into doing something that wasn’t in her own interests or, in her view, in the interests of her children.
Yesterday in the Senate, Senator Peris disclosed that she was in a “long-running and difficult child access and financial estate dispute”.
Since the dispute began, the Senator says that she has been “subjected to many threats”. In 2012, the other party in the child access and settlement dispute had threatened to make public a “folder of emails” relating to Mr Bolden. In March 2014, several months after she was elected to the Senate, a representative of this party threatened to release the emails “unless his wishes were granted”. The representative said that the release of the emails “will only result in causing major trauma for everyone, especially the children and damage the reputation of some stakeholders”. Earlier this month, Senator Peris reported the issue to the AFP.
Presumably the other party to the dispute has made good on these threats and the emails have made their way to the NT News. The NT News admits to knowing about the child access and financial settlement dispute. They not only chose to publish a story about an alleged misuse of public funds (that had been widely disproven by the relevant agencies), but also to publish the intimate emails.
The emails in question were sent four years ago, between Peris and Bolden.
Peris with former PM Julia Gillard.
Peris had been authorised to contact Bolden and encourage him to come to Australia to be part of a campaign in the lead up to the London Olympics. In addition to the business that was transacted (which relevant agencies have agreed it was not a misuse of public funds), there was also some personal, private banter between the two. They covered intimate subject matter. They disclosed very personal thoughts and opinions, some of which were about their relationship, some were about other people, including Olympian Cathy Freeman.
It is very clear from the content and nature of these emails that if they were made public, they would lead to significant embarrassment.
The NT News knew this. More importantly, they knew that these emails were given to them by a third party precisely because they would embarrass, hurt and humiliate the Senator.
They published them anyway. Making the newspaper an accomplice in a campaign of violence.