Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott had to be hustled away from the restaurant by security after the protesters demonstrated noisily outside.
Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott had to be hustled away from the restaurant by security after the protesters demonstrated noisily outside. Getty Images - Robert Prezioso

Staffer may have lit the fuse

JULIA GILLARD'S staff were last night fighting off allegations of a cover-up after the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of one of her media advisers who admitted to triggering the Australia Day fracas outside a Canberra restaurant.

Tony Hodges, one of Ms Gillard's press secretaries, resigned after admitting he told a third party the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, was at The Lobby restaurant. The information was passed on to Aboriginal tent embassy protesters, who believed Mr Abbott had earlier called for the closure of the embassy.

Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott had to be hustled away from the restaurant by security after the protesters demonstrated noisily outside.

Ms Gillard's office announced the resignation of Mr Hodges in a statement at 6.30pm yesterday, saying: ''A staff member did call another individual yesterday and disclosed the presence of the Opposition Leader at The Lobby restaurant. This information was subsequently passed on to a member of the Aboriginal tent embassy.

''During that discussion, the staff member did not in any way suggest or encourage violence or demonstration. Nevertheless, given the circumstances of yesterday's function at The Lobby restaurant, this action was an error of judgment. As such, the staff member's resignation has been accepted.''

Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au

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