‘I wasn’t hired for my looks’

TODAY show host Georgie Gardner has opened up regarding her return to the popular morning program while navigating her relationship with co-host Karl Stefanovic.

In a revealing interview with Stellar magazine, on sale today, the popular presenter reflected on taking her time to agree to return to the desk after a three-year absence.

Gardner left the show to spend more time with her young family and told viewers in November’s announcement that she consulted with them heavily before accepting the gig.

Gardner previously appeared on Today as the newsreader from 2007 to 2014 and was the Nine Network’s first choice to fill Lisa Wilkinson’s position after the former co-host’s sensational defection to Network Ten after a messy contract dispute.

“I wanted to be absolutely sure I was ready, and that I was right for the network, and right for the show,” Gardner told Stellar.

“There is no other gig like it.

“My feeling is you only get asked once in your career and, at age 47, the time was right. I had life experience behind me, hopefully something to offer, and great encouragement from management at Nine.

“To me, it was time.”

Gardner officially started her new role in January, propelling her into one of the most coveted roles on Australian television.

On the criticisms that get lobbed towards women who appear on TV she told Stellar it took her a “bit of adjusting”.

“I was someone who was always very self-conscious of my looks. I was the plain, chubby teenager who never in a million years would have dreamt of a career in TV.

“I don’t let it overwhelm me. In a way, I think I took some comfort in knowing I wasn’t hired for my looks, to be honest. I didn’t feel that pressure.”

After leaving Today seven years later to focus on her young family, Gardner became a regular fill-in host for Sonia Kruger on Today Extra and occasional reporter for 60 Minutes.

On chatter that Today’s ongoing success will depend on how she and Stefanovic get along, she said “good chemistry doesn’t necessarily equate to being best friends”.

“Good chemistry, to me, is interaction and respect and knowing when to let one shine [or] pull back. Drawing out people’s strength, having their back. Making each other laugh, finding the humour.

“Relationships by their very nature are often complex, and when it’s in those hosting chairs on national TV, you’re exposed. But that’s interesting.”

Gardner first worked at Nine in 2002, and later returned in 2006 to replace Leila McKinnon as presenter of National Nine News Morning Edition, before taking on the newsreader role on Today.

Stellar is available in today’s News Corp’s Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Herald Sun and Sunday Mail.

Turnbull to open up on Joyce

CHANNEL NINE have released a teaser trailer of an interview with Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, where the Prime Minister is set to reveal more about his relationship with Barnaby Joyce.

The trailer posted on Facebook, is the first sign of what 60 Minutes has in store for viewers on Sunday night.

Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy were interviewed by the program’s veteran 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes.

The trailer indicates the couple will discuss “the secret of a good marriage”.

Mr Turnbull is also expected to reveal what he thinks about his Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce.

When Hayes asks Mr Turnbull for his view on his relationship with Mr Joyce, he replies: ““It’s frank. It’s a frank relationship.”

The interview’s timing is curious, and comes as Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce held crisis talks in Sydney today, after their public spat over his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.

It is understood that Nine filmed the interview with the Turnbulls earlier this year, before news first broke of Mr Joyce’s affair with Ms Campion.

Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull met at the Commonwealth Parliament Offices in Sydney for over an hour on Saturday.

The meeting comes after Mr Turnbull said his affair was a “shocking error of judgment” causing “a world of woe” that “appalled” all of us at a press conference in Canberra, where he announced a sex with staff ban was now part of the ministerial code of conduct.

Mr Joyce responded on Friday at his own press conference while Mr Turnbull was in Hobart.

He said Mr Turnbull’s comments were “inept”, “hurtful” and “unnecessary”.

It is understood Mr Joyce on Saturday indicated his concern was more about the forcefulness of Mr Turnbull’s comments and less about their substance.

Both agreed to move forward in the national interest according to reports.

Both sides of federal politics have called on Mr Joyce to resign in the wake of the affair scandal. It could also threaten to bring down Mr Turnbull’s government.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott also waded into the public stoush to take a veiled swipe at Mr Turnbull.

“The general rule I always observed was that one party doesn’t give another party public advice,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Melbourne.

“If a member of parliament has something to say to another member of parliament he or she should knock on the door or pick up the phone.”

He also criticised Mr Turnbull’s changes to the ministerial code of conduct banning sexual relations between ministers and their staff.

“There was a perfectly good code of conduct in place,” Mr Abbott said.

Earlier on Saturday, Liberal senator Ian Macdonald called for Mr Joyce to be demoted to the backbench on account of his actions.

“Barnaby would have known it would derail the government’s line, the government’s focus and it really is giving Bill Shorten a free kick,” Senator Macdonald told the ABC.

“Clearly, his path is that he’s got to take a very, very low profile, I hope on the backbench for, you know, a few months.” “It’s just got to end,” he later told Fairfax media.

Labor MP Pat Conroy described the entire scenario as a “soap opera”. “It’s a valiant defence of the indefensible,” he told ABC News. “There’s a massive question to answer. Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday that Barnaby needed to consider this position. That’s code for saying, I need you to resign.”

However, hope remained for Mr Joyce with Nationals MP Michelle Landry telling The Australian that the Nationals leader had the support of the party room — “at this stage”.

“He is having a week off and then we’ll have our party room meeting Monday after next and we will see,” she said.

Mr Joyce will earn around $8000hile on his week of leave, while Mathias Cormann steps in to be Acting Prime Minister.

Mr Turnbull is set to head off to the US for talks with US President Donald Trump.

The Turnbulls will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in late March.

Hot takes on PM’s Parliament sex ban

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Bonk ban: ‘I don’t think we should be bed-sniffing’

HOURS after Malcolm Turnbull announced his now aptly-nicknamed “bonk ban”, the Q & A panel has slammed the Prime Minister’s decision, calling it a “gross overreach”.

Thursday night’s Q & A – a special episode for the #MeToo movement – stepped carefully when it came to discussing the global campaign.

But when Barnaby Joyce’s sex life came up, specifically how it inspired Mr Turnbull to ban sexual relationships between ministers and staffers, the panel didn’t hold back.

Josh Bornstein, a prominent workplace lawyer who has dealt with a number of sexual harassment cases, called it a “panicked response” and said it “detracts from the Me Too movement”.

Mr Joyce’s relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion — albeit an affair and the one that ruined his 24-year marriage — is and was consensual.

“My view might be totally out of line but it’s that consensual relationships are perfectly OK at work. I don’t have a difficulty — despite some of the issues with Barnaby Joyce — he’s had a consensual relationship with a 33-year-old woman who is perfectly able to decide,” Mr Bornstein said.

“The bonk ban is a gross overreach,” he added.

Mr Bornstein’s sentiment was supported by Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian.

Ms Albrechtsen has been particularly outspoken about the #MeToo movement over the past few months, expressing concerns it is promoting a social media mob mentality.

In regards to Mr Turnbull’s decision to ban sex amongst those working in Parliament, Ms Albrechtsen said Australia was getting on a “very fast train” and “we don’t quite know where it’s going to go”.

The decision to ban sex in the workplace is a difficult rule to enforce as, all the panellists agreed, a large number of people meet their partners in the workplace.

And as Josh Bornstein jokingly put, “can you imagine what would happen to the halls of the ABC if the bonking ban … would there be anybody left?”

Prime Minister Turnbull slammed his deputy’s decision to start a relationship with his former staffer in a press conference earlier Thursday.

“I think we know that the real issue is the terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby, by his conduct, has visited upon his wife, Natalie, and their daughters and, indeed, his new partner,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office. In doing so, he has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us. Our hearts go out to them,” he added.

Ms Albrechtsen said the Prime Minister setting himself up as the “morality police” would be a difficult thing to enforce.

“How do you enforce this? Do we have a grandfathering provision for those currently in a relationship? A transition?” she said.

But relating the #MeToo movement to Barnaby Joyce’s relationship and baby with his former staffer is something that shouldn’t be happening, Q & A panellist and a pioneering sexual harassment professor Catharine Lumby said.

“We’re talking about abuse of power when we’re talking about sexual harassment. If we’re talking about consenting adults and things are safe and consensual, I don’t think we should be bed-sniffing, personally,” the Macquarie University professor said.

Earlier Thursday, the ABC expressed its disappointment over Charles Waterstreet’s decision to withdraw from Thursday night’s Q & A panel.

Mr Waterstreet, a controversial Sydney barrister who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments, withdrew from the #MeToo edition late on Wednesday night.

The high-profile barrister has always denied the allegations, but made the decision after he was contacted by the NSW Bar Association’s President Arthur Moses.

Mr Moses wrote to Mr Waterstreet informing him “it was his firm view that it was neither appropriate or prudent for him to appear on the Q and A television program to discuss issue concerning the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement.”

Despite withdrawing from the panel, Mr Waterstreet wasn’t spared from Thursday night’s discussion.

When introducing fellow lawyer Mr Bornstein, the panel’s host Virginia Trioli said, “Josh, I’ll start with you — our only male panellist tonight — which wasn’t our intention, but that’s what we’ve ended up with.”

Ms Albrechtsen however, defended Mr Waterstreet, saying he was the sort of person who needed to be a part of the #MeToo conversation when asked about alienating men.

“Charles Waterstreet would not have come under pressure, for example, from the Bar Association to come on, because these kind of voices are the ones that need to be part of the conversation,” she said.

“When we start excluding voices — as happened here tonight with Charles Waterstreet — I think that’s really sad,” she added.

Kate Langbroek lashes women: ‘Don’t do it’

RADIO personality Kate Langbroek’s glaring message to women to “stop f-ing married men” is picking up steam as more Australian females applaud her for controversial comments.

On yesterday’s nationally syndicated radio program, Hughesy and Kate, breaking news of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s extramarital affair and subsequent child with former staffer Vikki Campion became the topic of conversation, which lead Langbroek on a scathing

tirade, describing the situation as “horrible”.

“It’s horrible, it’s hideous, it’s terrible,” Langbroek said of the situation, where Joyce’s estranged wife alleged the affair took place when Ms Campion was a paid member of staff.

Yet despite holding Barnaby Joyce accountable for his actions it was women who bore the brunt of the message.

“It happens a lot, but here’s the thing and maybe I say this as a woman, don’t get me wrong I totally hold Barnaby Joyce to account for his own actions, but I’m not a man, so all I can speak for is behalf of myself as a woman, and to other women,” she said.

“Stop f-ing married men. Just don’t do it. Stop doing it.

“You might think that you’re getting something out of it, but you’re not. You’re getting so much pain and misery and bad juju from that.

Langbroek claimed that not knowing someone’s wife was “not an excuse.

“The fact is you know of their existence,” she said.

“If you want to sleep with him, then he’s got a choice to split up with his family and split up with his wife and then he can come to you unencumbered, that’s fine, people fall in love all the time and relationships are complicated.

“But when you sleep with a married man, you’re a bad person. You can put whatever spin on it you want, but you’re a rotten person. So is the rotten man you’ve slept with, but I am not talking about the men.”

Dave “Hughesy” Hughes backed Langbroek, claiming that despite the fact “men have desires”, they have “to contain them”.

“People like to see themselves in a certain way and a lot of women consider themselves to put the sisterhood first or feminist,” Langbroek continued.

“Having an affair with a married man is not a feminist act. It is, in fact, the opposite. It is in fact extremely destructive of the journey that another woman has to go on in her life — and to yourself actually too.”

Since her explosive comments aired yesterday, social media has backed her calls, with most describing them as “well said”. The Hughesy and Kate Facebook page was quick to stress, “Kate is speaking only for the women in a situation like this”.

A statement from Mr Joyce’s estranged wife, Natalie, read: “I am deeply saddened by the news that my husband has been having an affair and is now having a child with a former staff member.

“I understand that this affair has been going on for many months and started when she was a paid employee.

“This situation is devastating on many fronts.

“For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years, who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.

“Our family life has had to be shared during Barnaby’s political career and it was with trust that we let campaign and office staff into our homes and into our lives.

“Naturally we also feel deceived and hurt by the actions of Barnaby and the staff member involved.

“The situation for myself and the girls will be made worse by the fact that this will all be played out in public so at this time.

“I would ask that the girls and I are given some privacy and time to come to terms with the consequences and take steps to plan our future.”

Bob Katter’s bizarre Dundee moment

BOB Katter has revealed his own Crocodile Dundee moment by bringing a large knife to a television interview.

The maverick Queensland MP — whose bizarre interview on same-sex marriage and the rate of fatal crocodile attacks made headlines internationally last year — brought the knife to an interview on Sky News in Parliament House today amid calls for a new Dundee movie.

“When they introduced the screening at the airports … they opened up my suitcase and said ‘You’ve got a knife,” he told host Samantha Maiden.

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“This is terrible because it sounds so pathetic, like I’ve taken a line out of Crocodile Dundee, but he pulls out [the knife] and says ‘You have a knife’.

“And I said ‘That’s not a knife my friend, that is my letter opener.”

Asked how he got the large knife through Parliament House security, Mr Katter joked: “I have influence.”

“Believe me, my knife is much more formidable than my letter opener,” he said.

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Crocodile Dundee fever has flared in the wake of Tourism Australia’s Super Bowl ad, which teased the world with the possibility of a new sequel starring A-list stars Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman and Margot Robbie.

More than 5600 people have signed a petition to #BringBackDundee so far, including Mr Katter.

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The Katter’s Australia Party leader took to Facebook yesterday to demand he star in any new Dundee movie that was made.

“I signed this Daily Telegraph petition to bring back one of the most iconic Australian movies to date; Crocodile Dundee,” he said.

“But of course, I must also make a cameo because if anybody knows anything about crocs lately, it’s me and the KAP boys.”

Mr Katter later said he would settle for actor Bryan Brown portraying him in the film.

Help make Dundee movie happen

IT’S the tourism campaign that launched a social media campaign that just might launch a new movie.

Tourism Australia’s lavish, star studded ad for American audiences — which debuted during today’s Super Bowl — used the lure of a new Crocodile Dundee movie to showcase Australia’s incredible natural beauty, scenic sights and larrikin sense of humour.

With an all-star cast including Chris Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and some extraordinary visuals, the campaign has generated talk that a modern-day Crocodile Dundee film would be just the thing the country and the world needs right now.

Spearheaded by the NT News, fans of the 1986 original — and those who were too young to remember it — are clamouring to #BringBackDundee.

Sign our petition and help make it happen.