Ray Hadley stalks @OakeyMP

Rob Oakeshott
Rob Oakeshott

by Noelle Kebby

20 June 2013

Rob Oakeshott is the Federal Member for Lyne, an Independent.  Ray Hadley is a radio broadcaster at Macquarie Network 2GB.  The two men have never met.  Rob Oakeshott has lived in Port Macquarie for 20 years,  his wife was brought up in and attended school  in Port Macquarie and his four children were born in Port Macquarie and attend local schools.  Ray Hadley lives with his family in Dural, a semi-rural suburb of Sydney.

On September 7th, 2010, following an intense 17 days of negotiation, Oakeshott,  along with Tony Windsor decided to back Labor, enabling Julia Gillard to form a minority government. Oakeshott weighed up the situation in terms of what he considered would be best for his constituents and the nation as a whole. Stability, the NBN, climate change action and education reforms were big factors in his decision.

What followed has been three years of the most relentless, vitriolic, personal and savage attacks on Rob Oakeshott and other Port Macquarie residents.

In the weeks following the formation of the minority government, Ray Hadley used his radio program to personally attack editorial staff of the Port Macquarie News, a paper he accused of supporting Oakeshott.  Staff members were named regularly on his show – resulting in the hospitalisation of one employee due to stress.

Some quotes from Hadley’s radio show in the following months: Speaking to Tony Abbott on 11 March 2011

“She’s got the Cheshire cat behind her, Rob Oakeshott, and for God’s sake can you stop trying to be nice to him? No, honestly Tony, honestly. You know, your deputy goes up there and tries to break bread with him, just bugger him he won’t be a factor after the next election. The people who listen to this programme in Port Macquarie are sick to back teeth of the dope… For goodness sake, I’ve said this to you before, roll the sleeves up mate. Pretend you’re back at university with the headgear on. Get into ‘em. “

“But by the way they’ll get a chance, the people in that area, not of Lyne but the state seat of Port Macquarie to send a message there with his confrère Peter Besseling.”

In April 2011 Oakeshott  challenged Hadley to “step away from the kill-switch” and debate him in public. In response, Hadley labelled Oakeshott an “imbecile” but did not take up the challenge.

The NSW State election of 26th March saw a bitter battle between sitting MP Peter Besseling and the National Party.   Hadley then turned his attack directly on Besseling, a friend of Rob Oakeshott and also an Independent.  It also saw the birth of a three-day wonder newspaper called the Port Paper. Complete with news stories, advertisements, television guide and crossword, it looks like a newspaper but, with a fourth edition coming out today, there is no editor nor, in a time of election, any political authorisation. ‘‘I can’t say anything about who runs the paper,’’ said journalist Andrea Schulzer, who is listed as the news department contact. ‘‘I’m not at liberty to talk about anything.’’ Johns River resident David Shepard said the newspaper’s attacks on Besseling and Rob Oakeshott indicated it was a political pamphlet in disguise: ‘‘You just know it won’t come out after the election.’’  Meanwhile, broadcasting live in Port Macquarie, Ray Hadley praised the Port Paper as a fine journalistic publication.

Nationals candidate Leslie Williams won the seat of Port Macquarie at her third attempt, defeating Peter Besseling.

Elections for a new Port Macquarie Council were to be held in September, 2012.  As soon as it became apparent that Peter Besseling would contest the election, Ray Hadley once again entered the fray, resulting in one Port Macquarie resident writing to The Independent (local free paper) Sep 20, 2012 – “I contacted Ray Hadley recently and asked when he was going to give up his continued criticism of Peter Besseling in the coming elections.”

In what has been seen as a softening of the anti-Oakeshott sentiment whipped up by the media, Peter Besseling was installed as Port Macquarie mayor much to the chagrin of Hadley.

In October/November 2012 an issue involving signage blew into a major incident involving the Port Macquarie Council and Ray Hadley.  This involved a truck with election signage for Nationals candidate Dr David Gillespie (best man at Tony Abbott’s wedding) and local Rotary Club signage.  The Council was contacted about their signage policy and this was passed on to the relevant department.  Ray Hadley then took up the cause.  2GB rang the Council requesting an on-air interview with either the Mayor of the General Manager.  They were told this would not be appropriate.

The next day, 23rd November Hadley exploded with an extraordinary attack on the Council and in particular the Communications Manager.  On Monday, 26th November Hadley resumed the attack this time naming the Communications Manager and calling her a “halfwit”, citing reference to her resume.  Council investigated defamation action and received a letter of apology from the local radio station manager.

It is not hard to  understand why Mike Carlton described Hadley’s program as “a temple of hatred”.

Apparently Ray Hadley intends to bring his Radio Program to Port Macquarie for the last few days of the election in September to “witness the demise of Rob Oakeshott”.  How he plans to traverse the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 remains to be seen.

Rob Oakeshott has been an outstanding MP.  He has worked tirelessly for the Lyne electorate and the minority government has seen more than $1 billion in federal grants for a multitude of projects –  health, infrastructure, education, support services, NBN and many more. In stark contrast the Lyne electorate was largely taken for granted under the Nationals for 60 years.

At the time of writing Rob Oakeshott has yet to decide whether he will stand at the next election.



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  1. Joy Cooper says

    Hadley is an absolute menace. Never knew how much of a part he played in destroying Peter Besseling’s state parliament career though. What does Hadley want from Williams?

    Have heard of normally rational people who will quote Hadley’s irrational diatribes as though they are truths. They believe every word he has to say which makes him very dangerous indeed. He can’t be fully sane with his volatility, raging mindless anger & demented outbursts.

    Rob Oakeshott’s uncommon decency will, hopefully, see him through these dreadful & abominable attacks from his vile, loathsome & cowardly attacker.

    • Love how is having a crack at Besseling. Have you seen that bloke? You, me carpark now. Hadley is a big boy but Peter would crush him between his thumb and forefinger (index finger for Hadley listeners)

      • Joy Cooper says

        Love it, Franky. Haven’t seen Peter Besseling in the flesh but he looks a big boy on TV. Hadley is all mouth & would run a mile rather than face up to the people he bullies on a daily basis, as witness his refusal to debate Rob Oakeshott.

        2GB & its boorish “shock jocks” are all cowardly blaggards who scream down anyone who dared to question their vile BS.

  2. I hope Rob Oakeshott stands again and wins by a huge margin.
    If there is another minority government he gets my vote for PM.

  3. Mary Anderson says

    Our thoughts exactly – what right has this man to try to impose his will on the people of our electorate? Rob Oakeshott has been a thoroughly hardworking, decent local member, always available to his constituents. All reasonable people in the Lyne electorate will see through this disgraceful politicking and return Oakeshott should he decide to re-contest.

  4. leonetwo says

    So very true, and there’s much more that could be said about Hadley’s disgraceful bullying of the people of Port Macquarie. Like all bullies, Hadley is a coward, he refuses to have a face-to-face debate with Rob Oakeshott although Rob has given numeropus invitations.

    What does Hadley want from Williams? Nothing. He just wanted Besseling to lose. It’s such a shame that Port Macquarie lost a decent, hard-working independent MP and gained a National who is nothing more than a party hack, a yes-woman. In a way that could be helpful to Rob Oakeshott. Mrs Williams is a constant reminder of the uselessness of National Party MPs, she could be quite a campaign asset to Oakeshott.

  5. Susan in Lyne says

    People in Port Macquarie did themselves a great disfavour in voting out Mr Besseling. He voted 75% time with the LNP in state parliament and now we have 3rd time lucky Ms Williams who re-announces old policies regularly but continues to inform us she has a seat at the table. Well If you ask me it is well below the salt………

    I would rather stick pins in my eyes than listen to Ray Hadley but around the town it is sometimes hard to avoid him in some venues.
    It is thoroughly disgraceful that an excellent local MP like Mr Oakeshott is being treated so disgracefully by a bullying, loud mouthed, ignoramus from outside the area.

    Even sadder is the large number of voters who believe Mr Hadley and will base their vote on his ill informed, bigoted views rather than investigate the issue or policy for themselves.

    It is interesting to note that if an outsider criticises our area, many of Mr Hadley’s listeners are the first to jump down their throats…what would outsiders know etc etc…yet are quite prepared to accept an outsider life Mr Hadley’s views.

    I despair if Dr Gillespie is elected as we will be taken for granted again just like back in the dark ages of Mr Vaile, Ms Wendy Machin and their predecessors

  6. Great work citizen journo
    Firstly it’s fantastic to read anything that doesn’t contain the name, well you know who and secondly something full of useful information.

    Hope to read more

  7. Has Oakenshott got enough of Hadley to sue him for defamation if so when the dust has cleared sue,and take Hadley for everything you can

  8. I am looking for a citizen journalist to cover Lyne for @NoFibs. See ‘Immersion journalism for democracy’ http://nofibs.com.au/2013/06/15/outside-the-bubble/

  9. Jennifer says

    I’ll vote for Dr David Gillespie; not Mr Oakeshott. However, I love the power each of us has to just switch off those abusive shock jocks. Or, rather, never switch them on in the first place. And, BTW, Leslie Williams is a terrific Member for Port Macquarie – CaptainWhaler

  10. Margaret Foley says

    Great piece Noelle… Thank you!!!!

  11. Joy Cooper says

    @Jennifer (or CaptainWhaler) all Leslie Williams seems to do is take credit for work Rob Oakeshott has done or get puff pieces shown on Prime7 TV news. A major error occurred when Williams happily opened the $1.9 million federally funded Geriatric Evaluation and Management unit at Pt Macquarie Base Hospital.. Rob Oakeshott, who had organised the funding for this unit, was NOT invited. He was not pleased to say the least. He has personally organised more funding & works for the Lyne electorate than Mark Vaile, as leader of the Fed Nats, had ever done during the Howard era. The Lyne electorate will return to the doldrums if a National candidate it elected.

    Prime7 is purely a Nationals campaigner & all we see on their so-called news is propaganda for the Nationals, both federal & state, stretching along the coast from Taree/Port Macquarie to the border at Tweed. A major frustration to me.

    PS Not listening to shock jocks, or switching them off, is not power, it is just commonsense. Listening to their poisonous bile & lies is bad for your health.

  12. Helen Chappell says

    What is it exactly these Ray Hadley followers think David Gillespie will achieve for them if (God help us) we are returned to days of National “do nothingness”?

  13. The level of venom directed at him, proves what a decent upstanding man Robert Oakeshott is. Why else would you need this kind of level of attack? We need at least 10 Rob Oakeshott/Tony Windsor style members of the house of reps to keep the major parties honest and working for the people rather than their business interests. I hope he stands and wins soundly, otherwise this nations shift to the far right and descent into the mire of hate and xenophobia is one step closer to being complete.

  14. tony woolford says

    A great expose Noelle, We spend a lot of time worrying about bullies and bullying in our schools, yet when they become adults we pay them big salaries…..I deliberately did not say when they “grow up”

  15. Ray Hadley is a bully through and through, evidenced by the many back downs once he is challenged. I hope Rob Oakshott wins for the sake of the people of Lyne. I believe he is a man of great integrity and he showed us that following his decision to back the ALP to form government with his 17 minute explanation outlining his reasons. Here was a man (I include Tony Windsor) who did not take the decision lightly, who agonised over every aspect of his decision but stood strong to get the best he could for his electorate and for the country. He recognised that the LNP had no strategies for how they wanted this country to grow and develop, still don’t. We have had three years of the most vitriolic, mean spirited opposition this country has ever seen and Rob has never wavered in his belief that he was helping advance the nation. NBN NDIS, GONSKI Reforms, Murray/Darling, National Parks, pension increases, increased tax free threshold, superannuation from 9%-12%,Price on Carbon, and on and on, over 500 pieces of legislation!!!
    A great legacy. I hope he stands again not just for the people of Lyne but for Australia. We need more fine people like Rob in our parliaments.

  16. Dave Lewis says

    Great piece Noelle. I couldn’t agree more. How Ray Hadley has any credibility in our nation astounds me.

  17. Catherine Vaara says

    I believe people power can remove radio broadcasters like Ray Hadley. I, like many Australian do not approve, believe in or want to hear personal attacks. We want to hear policies, what are the grounds our politicians are standing for? How have they made the decisions they have – not slurs or slander. Public complaints when someone is not performing to our standard in the radio industry is a powerful thing.

  18. Anne O'Brien says

    Noelle,a great piece of journalism ,you could get yourself another job ,this is so well written,best article I have read for a long time.Thank you for sharing your talent and some facts. Anne O’Brien

  19. joy cooper says

    Who is Hadley going to slander & malign now that Rob Oakeshott has, sadly, decided he wants to live a normal life away from politics??? Guess it will be whoever is game to stand against the dismal Nationals candidate.

    • Who the hell is ray hadley anyway? Some decrepit foot-brawl commentator for commercial radio crap? Doesn’t rate with me.

  20. Good story – I found this article very disturbing and it would of been one of the most disgraceful incidents of recent times against an innocent member of parliament. I did listen to all these attacks during that period and found it hard to understand how Rob Oakeshott could of taken all this.

    Anyway I hope you’re well Rob, you did us proud in the short time you served. If it makes you feel better, I stopped listening to all shocks Jocks as it really had a depressive effect on me. After 2 months of listening to other stations – I feel much better.