Oz premier asks colleagues to keep their clothes on during Xmas parties

Sunday, November 21, 2010

MELBOURNE - An Australian premier has issued a clear but stern warning to her Cabinet colleagues to keep their clothes on and behave themselves during office Christmas parties this year.

NSW premier Kristina Keneally told ministers to ensure that they did not act inappropriately at any of the upcoming parties, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Her admonition came in a special address to Cabinet last week amid speculation this year’s party season could be wilder than ever - with Labor staffers adopting a ‘last days in Rome’ mindset before expected defeat at next March’s election.

The premier also instructed ministers to ensure media advisers and chiefs-of-staff did not post inappropriate comments or photographs on Facebook or Twitter.

Two years ago, Kiama MP Matt Brown resigned as police minister after allegedly dancing on a couch in his underwear - a claim he denied.

The warning was however treated with contempt by some ministers, with one questioning on why Cabinet was being used to lecture ministers on drinking instead of finishing Government business before the end of the parliamentary session.

“It was the main message of the meeting. It was a serious warning - she doesn’t want another underpants-dancing incident - but I don’t think it went down very well,” said a government source.

A spokeswoman for Keneally confirmed the Premier had issued a warning.

“The Premier acknowledged that in the lead-up to the Christmas-New Year period there would be several functions attended by ministerial staff and she advised them that she expected all ministerial staff to behave appropriately,” she said.

Another minister said the premier’s message was appropriate, given the predicament Labor was facing.

“It’s about conducting ourselves appropriately,” the minister said.

The edict follows successive ministerial scandals over the past few years, which have shifted the focus from Government business to misbehaving ministers. (ANI)

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