Former federal politician Jackie Kelly says she should have never confirmed her husband was involved in distributing fake pamphlets during the 2007 election until after the campaign was finished, a new book reveals.
Kelly had already announced she was retiring from the seat of Lindsay and another Liberal Party candidate, Karen Chijoff, had been selected when the scandal unfolded just days before the 2007 election.
The women's husbands – Gary Clark and Greg Chijoff – were found to have distributed the fake pamphlets from a bogus Islamic organisation urging constituents to vote for Labor, not least because it had shown support for the Bali bombers.
In Jayne Anderson's new book, Working It Out: Career, Family and You, Kelly said she had no knowledge of her husband's antics until after they unfolded and should never have confirmed them in an interview with the AM program.
Kelly famously told AM the men's actions were "a Chaser-style prank", exposing her to further ridicule for trying to downplay the scandal.
She told Anderson she was trying to get her two children to school at the time and should never have given the interview to AM.
"Here's me in the kitchen with Weet-Bix and milk going everywhere and kids not dressed," she said in the book, adding she should have been "in the office, focused and in hose-down mode".
The Coalition was thrown out of government and Kelly's great supporter, then prime minister John Howard, also lost his seat in the 2007 election. The seat of Lindsay also went to Labor.
Kelly told Anderson in a candid interview that she thought it was a mistake to try to play down the men's actions.
"Yes. Look, you're trying to hose it down and probably the best thing, I think in retrospect, would have been just to say nothing, deny everything, until after the campaign, and that way they've got nothing to go on.
"So, going out and confirming, I think that was a mistake ... And then after the campaign you could say sorry".
* Jackie Kelly's story about juggling motherhood and politics from Working It Out appears in Forum today.