Federal Senator and former national representative athlete Cory Bernardi is today facing numerous calls for his sacking, after News Limited’s South Australian outlet, the Adelaide Advertiser, this week published a series of explosive e-mails detailing his scandalous misuse of public funds prior to his entering parliament in 2006.
Bernardi, who at just 18 became the youngest ever Australian selected to row in the national men’s heavyweight coxed eights, later worked as a communications officer with the Australian Institute of Sport and served as a goodwill ambassador for Rowing Australia, is revealed in the e-mails to have sought and received, five-figure sums from these bodies, in order to transport a high-profile female British rower to Australia for an extended sexual tryst, under the pretext of a promotional tour to encourage interest in rowing among school children.
Many of the details of the texts and e-mails that passed between the arch-conservative Bernardi and the British athlete in question are too graphic for this site. But Bernardi openly states in them that he intends to leave his wife for her in the near future, and boasts to her of having forgotten his wife’s anniversary the day before, as well as being so consumed with anticipation at their upcoming shagfest that he couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
Ok now I have to go and give a talk to 200 kids and all I am going to be thinking about is f****** you now lol
Not a good look for a federal Senator holding a public trust.
He is also recorded in the messages as having negotiated the sum to be paid to the rower, who initially texted
purpose is time with u plus attend trials plus help them promote the trials and possibly guest broadcast on the tv station carrying it…need hotel ticket plus 15,000 US…
The tone of the messages then gets worse, with the British rower requesting, and Bernardi supplying, nude “selfies”. The woman then responds with suggestions that the Senator definitely doesn’t belong in the coxless fours lol
In the text messages, Bernardi also displays the most appalling racism. He is quoted in the them as saying the reason Rowing Australia apportions little or no funding to Aboriginal children in the outback is that “the blacks all hate us anyway”. He also pointedly pictures their impending physical congress as white on white – like a vanilla slice. He claims in the messages he cannot conceive of marrying another ethnic Italian because of the emphasis on extended family:
If I was to marry an Italian woman here u have to marry the family lol .. and that is just too much, I am the eldest of 45 cousins.. on my side imagine family reunions lol…
Seeking to explain himself in the Senate yesterday, Bernardi was careful to avoid explicitly stating that the e-mails were fake. Instead, he deflected, claiming the release of the e-mails was related to a blackmail attempt on him, connected to a custody dispute arising from a prior relationship. He spoke at length about his heritage, as the son of a poor Italian immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1958 with only the shirt on his back, and how his family fought for everything they had. Inexplicably, he went on to claim that, even though he does not deny writing the e-mails, their content does not reflect his values. Faced with the embarrasingly contradictory claim by the British rower herself yesterday that the e-mails were fake, Bernardi bizarrely stated in parliament,
I am aware that she has stated that the emails are fake,” he said. “What I can say is that the views attributed to me over the past two days, based on the publication of selected words contained in private emails, which I don’t have, certainly don’t reflect my views. They don’t reflect my values and the evidence of this is the life I have led and continue to lead.
Utter nonsense. He said it. Now he owns it.
Of course, Bernardi must resign. His position as a Senator is untenable, seeing as he is responsible for the allocation of literally billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. When News Limited contacted Bernardi, seeking a response, well before the release of the e-mails, he made no mention of any blackmail attempt. His claims to special pleadings on account of his ethnic background and impoverished upbringing are as hollow as they are irrelevant. Nor is his personal life of any account, whatever his attitude to his marriage and his treatment of his spouse may be. His squabbles with his extended family are a private matter for himself and those involved, and to introduce them in parliament in this manner was a red herring so obvious that it further adds to the humiliation he has so abundantly drawn down upon himself.
An open and shut case, really.
In fact, if he continues to damn News Limited for raising what is clearly a matter of public interest, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some day soon, all the e-mails and text messages—and that includes the nude “selfies”—just happen to appear on some obscure website, for the delectation of journalists and bloggers everywhere. And then it’s all over, red rover, for the good Senator.
By the way, given the very personal nature of the tangential issues of this case, I have checked everything against multiple sources, and can confirm every detail in this story is true.
Except one. The Senator involved wasn’t Cory Bernardi.