Leaking his secrets

When Red Cross supporters bought tickets to hear Laurie Oakes speak on Saturday night, they didn’t expect to listen to toilet humour all evening.

But it was the tales often set in political bathrooms that kept the crowd enthralled.

From listening in on bathroom conversations through ventilation ducts, to passing files while at the urinal, Laurie Oakes had plenty to say about “leaks”.

Jokes aside, he gave the room a view of politics and the media from his perspective.

The political journalist, known for his scoops which often brought careers to an end, said the media and politicians needed one another to survive.

“Leaks in my view are essential,” he said.

“I contend that democracy can’t work without leaks, or at least the threat of leaks.”

He said politicians were the first to complain when on the receiving end of a tip off but would turn right around and let their own titbit find its way into a journalist’s notebook.

“It’s them versus us. That’s the way it should be,” he said. “That’s the way it works.”

The room was packed to capacity and those present hung on the writer’s every word.

“I keep reading that people are disengaged,” Mr Oakes told the Tribune.

However, after fielding several questions from the Yass audience he had to change his mind.

Red Cross secretary Nancye Lee said the television journalist handled the questions with a balanced response.

“He answered some tricky questions,” she said.

Ms Lee said the group was delighted with the turnout.

“The whole night was a smashing success and it’s made even better with the fact that we raised $4900.”

She said although people often grumble about the fact the Red Cross money goes out of the area, it would be best to never see it again.

The money is given to communities facing disasters like the floods and cyclones that tore apart Queensland.

“We live in hope that it never comes back to town,” she said. “We should be forever grateful that we don’t have those sorts of disasters.”

The secretary also thanked many community members and volunteers who ensured the night was a success.

She said the hospitality from the Soldiers Club helped make the night great.

“The venue was great and the food to top it off was brilliant.”

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