It’s fair to say there have been no winners in Sophie Mirabella’s defamation case against the Benalla Ensign.
Yes, Mrs Mirabella will walk away with a payout but, even still, it’s come at a significant cost.
The Ensign will quite rightly pay a price for publishing a story that was untrue and damaging to Mrs Mirabella’s hopes of reclaiming the seat of Indi in 2016.
But you really do have to wonder how on earth it got to this point.
The who-pushed-who debate is schoolyard stuff and this whole thing could have been knocked on the head very early in the piece had Cathy McGowan been up-front about what had actually taken place.
Everyone has their own view on Mrs Mirabella.
She’s a strong character – a trait which meant for everyone who loved her, there was one, or more, who didn’t.
But just because you’re a divisive figure doesn’t mean you deserve to be falsely accused of something you didn’t actually do.
Ms McGowan played political games by allowing the false allegation to fester and for someone who has always encouraged people to “be their best selves”, that’s disappointing.
Had the Indi MP set the record straight immediately two years ago, this whole saga could, potentially, have been settled with an immediate correction by the Ensign instead of the one that appeared six months later.
Ms McGowan was asked four times by The Border Mail to tell her side of the story during the election campaign, but she said she did not want to make the allegations a bigger focus than policy.
“An incident happened and it’s now recorded by the journalist in Benalla and it’s now moved into a ‘he said, she said’ matter”, she said at the time. “I’m not making any further comment about it.”
LISTEN: Border Mail journalist Anthony Bunn presses Cathy McGowan on whether she was pushed by Sophie Mirabella
Ms McGowan said in court this week that she refused to comment on the incident, in part, because she “was aware of the enormity” of revealing she saw Mrs Mirabella “push” minister Ken Wyatt.
Sorry, but how disingenuous is that.
Ms McGowan also said in court this week, under oath, she did not think it was her responsibility “to be monitoring the accuracy of the media in the North East electorate”.
So with that in mind, we don’t anticipate any fallout from “Team Cathy” for saying we expect a whole lot better from our elected representatives than the childish games that have taken place in this sorry story.