Mass confusion

The content on this webpage contains paid/affiliate links. When you click on any of our affiliate link, we/I may get a small compensation at no cost to you. See our affiliate disclosure for more info

Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

I love stories like this. The day after Christmas, health minister Tony Abbott was driving to mass when took a call from former girlfriend Kathy Donnelly. She told him the son they’d given up for adoption 27 years earlier had been in touch for the first time. He wanted to meet his father; a wonderful reunion followed. Julie-Anne Davies of The Bulletin (magazine I work for, full disclosure, etc) learned of this, and began inquiries about reporting the story.

Julie-Anne and the magazine proceeded cautiously, earning the trust of those involved; as the date of publication neared, however, The Daily Telegraph’s Piers Akerman (friend of mine, full disclosure, etc) also learned of Abbott’s reunion. Trouble ensued; following a hurricane of pre-emptive publicity, Julie-Anne’s cover story eventually went to print.

And now it turns out that the kid isn’t Abbott’s after all.

More in The Bulletin this Wednesday.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/21/2005 at 12:24 PM
    1. My grandmother always said about women such as Kathy Donnelly, “If you pitched your ass up against a buzzsaw, could you swear which tooth hit you?”

      Posted by Frank Villon on 03/21 at 12:39 PM • permalink


    1. Yowza!

      You just can’t make this stuff up.

      Wonder if the young man is reconsidering the wisdom of finding his “real” parents, instead of sticking with the ones who actually raised him?

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 03/21 at 12:45 PM • permalink


    1. Kathy Donnelly, “I Could Have Sworn. . .”

      Posted by Frank Villon on 03/21 at 01:06 PM • permalink


    1. It’s horrendous for everyone concerned and the biological mother probably wanted to or did truly believe Abbott was the daddy.

      Although there is an obvious reason why she should have at least questioned that idea years ago (and she probably did, but Abbott was apparently none the wiser).

      A very simple question to emerge from this situation is how often are people (men) led to believe they are the parent of a child when they are not.

      Don’t really think truth is that much stranger than fiction.

      Posted by Darlene Taylor on 03/21 at 02:39 PM • permalink


    1. OK, so the father isn’t the big time politician.  This is just a small set back.  What Kathy needs to do is to go back to her list of potential fathers/sperm donors, assembled in order according to the depth of their deep pockets, and announce that it’s really Candidate No. 2.

      And hope that the actual father isn’t Candidate No. 35, Frederick, the slushee pourer at the local Minute Mart.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/21 at 04:34 PM • permalink


    1. That’s kind of harsh, Barbara – just because he was looking for his birth parents doesn’t mean he was rejecting his real ones. Maybe he was just really curious; the same instinct that causes some people to go ancestor-hunting in obscure archives.

      As for the situation, what a mess. And yes, it does make you wonder just how many rogue chromosomes have made into various family gene pools over the centuries.

      Posted by Sonetka on 03/21 at 05:33 PM • permalink


    1. One obvious reason for searching out biological parents is to get a complete medical background.  Understandable.

      I expect we’d all be surprised, delighted, and alternately horrified to discover what’s in our family histories.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 03/21 at 05:39 PM • permalink


    1. Soundtrack to story: Catholic Girls by Zappa

      Posted by Honkie Hammer on 03/21 at 06:30 PM • permalink


    1. regardless of ones political persuasion

      You’ve really got to feel for the guy – 27 years of heartache yearning and wondering only to find out that the child was not his.

      I think this ios a case for Mandatory DNA testing.

      Posted by BattlestarGallactica on 03/21 at 06:39 PM • permalink


    1. Sonetka – I don’t see it as “harsh” at all, just a (slightly too late) dose of reality.

      Plenty of adopted people DON’T search for their birth parents.  I do understand wondering, and if both a child and birth parent register with some database that they’re interested in finding each other, that’s one thing. Barring that, it’s best left alone.

      And I’d insist on DNA testing whether I were the child, or the supposed parent, before it got publicized.  (Actually, I wouldn’t publicize so intensely private a matter as this anyway.)

      As it is, this young man has made himself a public figure, and has brought to the public’s attention that his mother slutted around.  Not to mention what Abbott’s been put through.

      Of course, he does get one thing from all this heartache:  he (and the whole world) now knows who his birth father is.

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 03/21 at 07:36 PM • permalink


    1. Some studies suggest 9% to 30% of all children might be fathered by someone other than the man believed to be the father. Here is an interesting summary of statistics.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 03/21 at 08:44 PM • permalink


    1. After all the shit filth like Mark Latham gave Tony Abbott over this . . . .

      Posted by steve68 on 03/21 at 08:51 PM • permalink


    1. Let me see if I understand this. This mass confusion is happening in print media. Print media, with its ethical standards, internal safeguards, editors, and all, gets its stories right. Unlike the blogosphere, in which pajama-clad enthusiasts publish any damned thing that suits them with no fact-checking or other oversight.

      Posted by ErnieG on 03/21 at 09:58 PM • permalink


    1. How long do we wait before someone at the SMH finds a way to twist this against Abbott?

      Posted by Susan Norton on 03/21 at 10:08 PM • permalink


    1. Reaction in the newsroom last night was quite peculiar. Not able to blame anything on Abbott, the lock-thinkers decided he was a figure of derision. The same conformists were also highly critical of Bush for trying to stop the state from executing non-criminal citizens. Challenged, all they could manage was the “I” “me” defence: “If I was in that situation I’d want to be dead”.
      Well, maybe I’d want to too. But it’s not me and not my colleague; its the persons closest to this patient who want her alive. And it should be their responsibity and no one else’s. If they want her alive, the state should do everything in its power to grant that wish.

      Posted by slatts on 03/21 at 10:35 PM • permalink


    1. Susan:

      Not very long at all.

      Posted by Grand Old Elephant on 03/21 at 10:35 PM • permalink


    1. The Headline will be:


      Posted by amortiser on 03/21 at 10:44 PM • permalink


    1. Ah for the old days, when you could blame those inconvenient pregancies on gods and not mere politicians.

      Posted by Achillea on 03/22 at 01:50 AM • permalink


    1. well our tone has learned a valuable lesson – anyone who talks to the media about their private life is asking for disaster – maybe he & other politicians will think twice before indulging the media’s slavering thirst for “interesting” detail about what people have done with their DNA

      Posted by KK on 03/22 at 02:56 AM • permalink


    1. How about:

      Abbott kidnap attempt fails

      Posted by murph on 03/22 at 03:18 AM • permalink


    1. Or:

      Abbott lies cause Latham to make cunt of self

      Posted by murph on 03/22 at 03:19 AM • permalink


    1. Which is worse, finding out Tony Abbott is your dad or that your mum is a slut?

      Posted by OMGWTFBBQ on 03/22 at 03:35 AM • permalink


    1. There’s an old saying:  It’s a wise man who knows his father.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 03/22 at 05:00 AM • permalink


    1. hey! kath donnelly isnt a slut, she just likes to have sex with a lot of different men. what’s the problem?

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 03/22 at 05:17 AM • permalink


    1. This morning on ABC Radio National Fran Kelly, assisted by Michelle Grattan of The Age newspaper, decided not to beat up on themselves (the media) for making more of this story than it deserved, and intruding into people’s privacy in an unseemly manner.
      Well that’s just dandy. But the media WAS out to get Tony Abbott if they could. Why give the story such priority if not for a mix of prurient and political motives? They thought that it would be an embarrassment for him (one of their betes noires), and were surprised to find that he handled it well – with openness and honesty.
      There are now, as usual, collateral casualties from this media binge, but they will be far less disturbed about them than they are by any casualties (often enlarged to outsize by media treatment) of ANYTHING the government does.
      Media – You Stink!

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/22 at 06:07 AM • permalink


    1. There are some very stupid comments here.

      Adoption is always the best option for unwanted children.

      It has saved countless thousands of babies from unwanted unions and elevated them into loving homes provided by couples who have demonstrated their ability to provide for and love someone’s unwanted offspring.

      Yeah, like you’d want a medical background compared to the odds of having been raised in a functional family.

      Feminists talk about ‘villages’ raising children, then advocate abortion.

      The village was already raising the child. It was called adoption.

      Posted by ilibcc on 03/22 at 07:09 AM • permalink


    1. Blog’s goin good, Tim. Attracting some champions to your line of right-thinking. They’re a bunch of hillbillies, mate, it’s reading like Jerry Springer’s Letters page:

      “My grandmother always said about women such as Kathy Donnelly, “If you pitched your ass up against a buzzsaw, could you swear which tooth hit you?�?�?

      This is good too: “I think this is a case for Mandatory DNA testing.�?

      So you’ve got the Nazis on side – nice one!

      And this: “…this young man has made himself a public figure, and has brought to the public’s attention that his mother sluted around.�?

      And the conservative Christians – brilliant! Heaven for you, buddy-roo! What’s that stuff about the villages raising the non-aborted childer? You get that bit? Ditto this bloke, but least he can spell:

      “Which is worse, finding out Tony Abbott is your dad or that your mum is a slut?�?

      Like HIS momma is sure who his daddy is, up there in the Virginian hills flicking a one-stringed banjo and dancing with snakes and praying to Jesus Dubya will keep him safe from the terror-ists.

      And they’re carrying on like a bunch of acolytes, have you noticed?, like a cheer squad of foot soldiers in the culture wars, like the crowd (well, maybe the guests) on Jerry Springer, getting that Go Tim-mee! Go Tim-mee! chant going.

      So yeah – you go Timmy. It’s a brilliant site and certainly no leftie tree-huggin pinko Green bastards in here, oh no, it’s all hell-fire and six-shooters and scorched Iraqi earth.


      Posted by DK Lillee on 03/22 at 08:17 AM • permalink


    1. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit bro. You have ability though if you can better hide the spite. Keep practising.

      Posted by Srekwah on 03/22 at 09:59 AM • permalink


    1. Nice post, DK.  Right down there with some other trolls.  The only thing you do right is to point out that some people should think before they post.  No, wait, you didn’t say that.  My bad.

      No, instead you dump on these people (right or wrong), and fly squawking off into the trees.  If you look closely, not everyone here was goofy or crude (sorry, people, that’s my opinion).  Read post #26, for example.

      And while you are here, how about commenting on other threads?  Say, the one where the Jordanians drew their weapons on “fellow UN peace keepers”, the Australians?  I made a crude joke there against the Jordanians, myself.  Any thoughts?

      How about “Peace Lesson for the Pre-born”?  That includes a child as well, which might interest you, eh?

      Probably not.  Instead of reasonably pointing out that this entire story was spun up by the media (not the family or Abbott), and their comments should be focused in that direction, you just insult everyone, happy as a clam to jump up and shout “GOTCHA!” (hint: the term is “constructive criticism”).

      You are just some twerp who dislikes tim (for whatever reason), and picked out one extreme example just so you could dump all over the blog.  I’d guess that you might be the “serial commenter” (heh! a genuine troll, truth be told) known as “Miranda Divide”, since that was “her” style, but your writing is way too sophisticated for “her”.  Which isn’t saying a lot.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/22 at 12:46 PM • permalink


    1. They’re a bunch of hillbillies, mate, it’s reading like Jerry Springer’s Letters page

      Hillbillies?  And exactly what is wrong with the rural inhabitants of Appalachia and the eastern mountainous regions of the US?

      If you said that at some US colleges, you could be accused of hate speech.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/22 at 03:32 PM • permalink


    1. DK

      You’re ugly and your breath smells like poo…so there!

      Posted by murph on 03/22 at 05:57 PM • permalink


    1. That’s not true. I brush and floss and use that green stuff, what is it?, Valvoline, or something … Enegra? Whatever, it cleans your gob good.

      I’m also not ugly.

      Hey, whoever said this: “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit bro.” as some sorta sledge to me … hey, buddy? You must have a pretty low opinion of the bloke who runs this site then? Quite possibly sarc-astic-est-est person in Blogdom, bar the several million I haven’t come across, but a very sarcastic fellow all the same, wot?

      Apologies to any hillbillies.

      Posted by DK Lillee on 03/22 at 08:07 PM • permalink


    1. Sorry for the sensitivity DK.  I hope I didn’t come off like Margo.

      It’s just that it’s used as a derogatory term to unfairly describe such persons as lazy, ignorant, and intolerant.  This is no more true than stereotypes about other groups of people.

      Many people from Ohio including me have roots from Appalachia.  During World World II many poor people moved to Ohio and Michigan to take jobs in factories manufacturing tanks, planes, and other products necessary for the war effort.

      My father was from backwoods Kentucky and had an eighth grade education from a one room school house.  Yet there were fewer people who were as hardworking and intelligent as him.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/22 at 09:10 PM • permalink


    1. wronwight — No you couldn’t.  Hillbillies are white.

      Barbara Skolout — Ironically, here in California, if you have been child support for a child DNA testing proves is not yours, the court will not release you from paying child support, even if the real father is known.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/22 at 09:23 PM • permalink


    1. They’re a bunch of hillbillies, mate, it’s reading like Jerry Springer’s Letters page:

      You are aware that Jerry Springer isn’t just a Democrat, but a self-declared “liberal”? And that he’s currently one of the left’s “champions” to try to “take back” talk radio?

      Springer’s “Letters page” is more likely to sound like Daily Kos than this place.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 03/22 at 10:59 PM • permalink


    1. Really? Springer’s a liberal tree-hugging Greenie French-food-fancying Europist Islamist al-Queda apologising indeed financing motherfreaker?

      Who’d have thought.

      Cos certainly his TV show’s chock-full of the sort of folks who’d back the rightist kill-all-the-A-rab-sumbitches style opinions that permeate this interesting web spot, wot?

      Posted by DK Lillee on 03/23 at 12:11 AM • permalink


    1. Still full of piss and vinegar, eh, DK?  I see that you aren’t making any intelligent comments on the other threads.  Just more dropping insults.

      Oh, well.  No one ever said orignality was a virtue of trolls.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/23 at 01:02 AM • permalink


    1. Ah, bit thin-skinned aren’t ya? This whole site’s about insults. Insults are it’s raison-de-etre, or whatever that French business means … … about … things why things exist …

      or something – but don’t believe us? Login as someone else and spruik an opinion contrary to the mainstream. You’ll be insulted within an inch of your life.

      Lucky it’s only a piss-ant blog in cyberland and not sorta, y’know, you, me in a bar after 10 schooners and pool cues at 5 paces, hey?

      I mean – then the insults might actually mean something. As it is … well, y’know … wot me worry?

      You? Worried

      Posted by DK Lillee on 03/23 at 01:11 AM • permalink


  1. Thin skinned, DK?  Not really.  Please note that I semi-agreed with you up above.  I just disagreed with your approach.

    But it’s pretty clear that you are here just trolling for attention.  Looking at the other posts you’ve made, you are responding to the people posting largely (not entirely) on a personal basis, with what the uncharitable might call ad hominem attacks.  Again, not always, but often enough.

    And given the history of people who don’t like this blog (some people actually take pride in being banned from here, God knows why), it’s not unreasonable to question your behavior.

    Not that you shouldn’t question the comments here.  Some are stupid, and people get called on them.  But your technique is deliberately abrasive, which leads me to conclude that you are most self centered and immature.  That’s a conclusion, not an insult.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/23 at 02:01 AM • permalink