Journalists never (rarely) reveal their sources, especially when they get a blockbuster scoop. It is unreasonable to expect them to do so, because the risk is that future “sources” will never trust them and they will miss out on that next scoop.
That said, in the current Labor Party leadership ructions, the sage of the Canberra press gallery, Laurie Oakes could, if he wished, change the course of Australian politics.
If Mr Rudd was in fact responsible for the hugely damaging leaks to Mr Oakes during the 2010 election campaign (Deputy PM Mr Swan said “he (Rudd) sought to tear down the 2010 campaign”) and if Mr Oakes confirmed this, Mr Rudd would be outed and be forced out of Labor leadership contention for ever. His milky bar kid cuteness and good fella persona would be exposed as a facade.
Other journalists could also come clean and outline Mr Rudd’s white-anting actions since he was tossed out – the truth would once and for all flush out Mr Rudd, undermining his remaining credibility.
With the Rudd destabilisation gone, Prime Minister Gillard could then get back to the job of governing without the periodic hand grenades being lobbed at her from within. It would not be impossible to consider that with 6 months of clear air, without friendly fire, she could refocus the government’s messages on the brilliant economic conditions, the May Budget and the policy agenda that most people seem to like and it might just see the government move somewhere close to being competitive at the next election.
Mr Oakes’ silence will help Mr Abbott win the next election.
My guess is that it’s unlikely we’ll see Mr Oakes or any other journalist confirm Mr Rudd’s destabilising actions. As mentioned, it probably isn’t reasonable to expect them to do so. But if they did, it would help to end a drama that risks spoiling the fantastic position Australia is in at the moment.