A pretty young woman asking a favour, a deputy prime minister pleased to grant it – we’re looking back in time at Labor’s Jim Cairns and the woman he professed “a kind of love for”, Junie Morosi, who has lived an uncontroversial, exemplary life in Canberra since those heady Whitlam years.
When Labor members get up tomorrow to talk about au pairs, they might want to remember when the Whitlam government “bent over backwards to find Morosi a subsidised flat, and allegations of nepotism, spiced with salacious innuendo fed a new scandal” according to web reports.
And there’s historic Hansard, where you read that Senator Young (SA) asked the Minister for the Capital Territory the question: Miss J. Morosi- Applicant for Government Flat.
Subsidised housing in Canberra was a perk to induce reluctant Melbourne public servants to come to the new, raw capital, Canberra, but Morosi wasn’t a public servant. She was on the staff of minister Jim Cairns; upsetting the rest of the staffers by rearranging their desks: “made it look like an advertising agency”, as one colleague complained at the time.
Attorney-general for the Whitlam government Lionel Murphy was tasked with responding to questions on Morosi, like this one from Senator Jessup who asked when “Miss Morosi had been appointed a marriage celebrant, charging between $15 and $30 in that capacity.”
When Labor parliamentarians rise to throw stones about foreign au pairs being given preferential visa treatment – adding in a mention of rich mates and polo, for good measure – they may want to remember that Canberra’s heard it all before and it’s probably in Hansard.
At least the French and Italian girls didn’t score any subsidised flats in the Capital Territory.
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