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Julia Gillard has refused to disprove allegations that she was involved in a money misappropriation scandal during the 1990s. This is a fundamental mistake.

She claims that the allegations are part of a malicious internet smear campaign, advocated by disreputable sources, and that these old allegations have already been dealt with and have no relevance to her prime ministership in the 21st century, and therefore, can’t we all just move on?

She also claims, as an aside, that the allegations are not true.

All this may be true, and I hope she is innocent. But true or not, it is the wrong answer.

The more she talks about how pointless proving her innocence is, and less about how she actually is innocent, the more the rational voter begins to suspect that she doesn’t want to talk about innocence, maybe, the rational voter muses, because she isn’t innocent.

Gillard claims to be innocent but she withholds the proofs. She has decided that the voters don’t need proofs. They should just go on her word.

The paternalistic arrogance required to announce “You don’t need the truth, I know the truth, I know I’m innocent and that’s good enough for you” is breathtaking. The voters have entrusted her with the highest office in the land. Gillard is answerable to them, and if they want to know that she is innocent, then they have a right to know for themselves.

This attitude of “I know best and I don’t need to explain myself to you” is what the voters will resent, and this arrogance will undermine her prime ministership until she stops this foolish behaviour.

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