The Seven Network has retreated from key arguments in a Seven News story which outed NSW parliamentarian David Campbell and resulted in his resignation as transport minister.
Amid furore over revealing details of Campbell’s personal life, Seven News Director Peter Meakin, told the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘I accept the fact that it [use of the car] doesn’t breach the ministerial guidelines, whether it should or not is another issue.”
Seven News revealed footage of Campbell exiting a sex on premises venue on Thursday night. Campbell resigned before it went to air.
Meakin said, ”If the guy is a minister for police and is frequenting brothels and sex clubs, heterosexual or homosexual, I think that’s a matter of some interest because he is exposed and he is potentially compromised.”
But Campbell yesterday said he said he had never been threatened over his gay life adding that his family needed privacy to “try and resolve this, put this behind us and try and get on with our life”.
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said, “I do think it’s a matter for debate whether or not a person’s sexuality is of relevance to their role as a minister or their role as a member of Parliament.”
Crikey reports that Seven state political reporter Adam Walters, who broke the story, previously worked as a spin doctor in former premier Morris Iemma’s ‘strategy unit’, and alludes to personal ties.
Meanwhile Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich described the story as a ‘gay witch hunt.’
“Whether he is gay, bi, curious or confused we need to appreciate that anyone of his generation grew up in a very homophobic Australia, both in terms of social attitudes and laws,” he told gay newspaper SX.
“This man has dedicated much of his life to public service, and without any understanding of the psychological issues associated with someone of his generation being able to be comfortable with his sexuality, he is being condemned by the media for walking down the stairs of a gay establishment.”
Gay and Married Men’s Association spokesman Greg Smith says the story is a sad reflection of the media at its worst and it will be a worry to people who are coming to terms with being gay.
“Many people come to organisations like GAMMA because it is discreet and private and the matters that are discussed in the organisation stay there,” he said.
But Peter Meakin told ABC Online,” When it comes to handing out Walkley Awards, we probably won’t get one for this.
“Am I proud that we have done the story? Yes, I am.”