ACT News

Former Gillard staffer Tony Hodges joins Andrew Barr's office

A former media adviser to Labor prime minister Julia Gillard who resigned after a security scare in 2012 is now advising the ACT Government. 

Tony Hodges resigned after Ms Gillard and then opposition leader Tony Abbott were caught up in an Australia Day protest which saw demonstrators from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy converge on Canberra's Lobby restaurant. 

Mr Hodges began work in Chief Minister Andrew Barr's office in late 2014 after returning from living and working in London. 

Mr Hodges resigned after it was revealed he was involved in alerting protesters to Mr Abbott's presence at an Australia Day event, sparking an angry response to comments purportedly made by the Coalition leader about the tent embassy's future.

The intensity of the protest saw Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott removed from the restaurant by security staff in dramatic scenes.

Footage and reports of the protest were broadcast and printed around Australia and overseas.

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Despite an Australian Federal Police investigation, no charges were laid over the event.

Ms Gillard's office announced Mr Hodges' resignation and said his involvement in the events had not been authorised by her office. 

Television news vision later showed union organiser Kim Sattler telling protest leaders Mr Abbott wanted to remove the tent embassy which is situated outside Old Parliament House.

Ms Sattler attracted criticism over her involvement in the protest. About 200 people banged on windows and doors of the restaurant and shouted crticism of Mr Abbott, seeing dozens of police and the riot squad deployed. 

Mr Barr issued a statement about Mr Hodges' appointment on Monday. 

"I have assembled a diverse team of experienced advisers and Tony is one of them," he said.

"All appointments are based on skills and merit within the Chief Minister's office."

One other former Gillard staffer also works in Mr Barr's office. 

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