Politics

Ten’s Peter Van Onselen hints about who leaked Gladys Berejiklian’s bombshell PM texts


Ten’s political editor Peter van Onselen says his bombshell texts which branded the Prime Minister ‘a complete psycho’ were leaked by a federal Liberal minister.

But the revelation comes as the TV pundit is at the centre of multiple controversies that saw him confronted on radio over several issues he is now facing himself. 

Van Onselen claims one of the PM’s closest advisors was behind the brutal live TV ambush of Scott Morrison with the texts from former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

But today Scott Morrison hit back and said the TV pundit was ‘facing his own questions’ over workplace bullying allegations in a new lawsuit by a female TV reporter.

And van Onselen was grilled on ABC Radio over whether the lawsuit – which claims the political guru was said to be ‘bats*** crazy’ – meant he had a ‘women problem’.

Ten's political editor Peter van Onselen (pictured) says his bombshell texts which branded the Prime Minister 'a complete psycho' were leaked by a federal Liberal minister

Ten’s political editor Peter van Onselen (pictured) says his bombshell texts which branded the Prime Minister ‘a complete psycho’ were leaked by a federal Liberal minister

In the devastating texts revealed by van Onselen, Ms Berejiklian was alleged to have called the PM a ‘horrible, horrible person’ who could not be trusted and was ‘more concerned with politics than people’. 

The PM was also called a fraud as well as a ‘complete psycho’ by the mystery minister, according to van Onselen.

Now The Project political guru has revealed the texts date back to the bushfire crisis – but had been given to him by a Federal minister. 

‘The minister is the source,’ he told ABC’s Virgina Trioli on Radio Melbourne on Wednesday.  ‘The Minister sent me the text messages. I’ve got the screenshots. 

‘I’ve got all the details that go beyond just having the screenshots to make sure that this minister isn’t even making it up in terms of the things that you want to prove it. But as a consequence, the deal done if that’s the way to put it is that I wouldn’t have the minister so so I just can’t do so. 

On Wednesday, Mr Morrison insisted he did not believe the texts came from his inner circle of Cabinet ministers.

Scott Morrison (pictured) hit back and said the TV pundit was 'facing his own questions' over workplace bullying allegations in a new lawsuit by a female TV reporter

Scott Morrison (pictured) hit back and said the TV pundit was ‘facing his own questions’ over workplace bullying allegations in a new lawsuit by a female TV reporter

However that could still include his extended government of assistant ministers.   

The PM also launched a personal attack at the TV pundit with a pointed snipe at van Onselen who is at the centre of the workplace bullying lawsuit.

He dismissed the texts and told Nine’s Today show: ‘There were no details or context behind [Van Onselen’s question] and it was done for sensationalist purposes.’

And he added: ‘The journalist who raised it is facing his own questions.’  

Canberra Press Gallery reporter Tegan George (pictured) claims 'humiliating' and 'belittling' messages from van Onselen were part of a 'toxic' bullying culture at Ten, in the lawsuit filed against the TV station at the Federal Court on Tuesday

Canberra Press Gallery reporter Tegan George (pictured) claims ‘humiliating’ and ‘belittling’ messages from van Onselen were part of a ‘toxic’ bullying culture at Ten, in the lawsuit filed against the TV station at the Federal Court on Tuesday

Peter van Onselen (pictured) also faced tough questioning over his role when he appeared on ABC Radio Melbourne with Virginia Trioli

Peter van Onselen (pictured) also faced tough questioning over his role when he appeared on ABC Radio Melbourne with Virginia Trioli

Canberra Press Gallery reporter Tegan George claims ‘humiliating’ and ‘belittling’ messages from van Onselen were part of a ‘toxic’ bullying culture at Ten, in the lawsuit filed against the TV station at the Federal Court on Tuesday. 

George alleges in court documents that when she complained, a boss at Ten told her: ‘Peter is bats*** crazy but we just have to get used to it.’    

Van Onselen also faced tough questioning over his role when he appeared on ABC Radio Melbourne with Virginia Trioli.

Tegan George (pictured) alleges in court documents that when she complained, a boss at Ten told her: 'Peter is bats*** crazy but we just have to get used to it.'

 Tegan George (pictured) alleges in court documents that when she complained, a boss at Ten told her: ‘Peter is bats*** crazy but we just have to get used to it.’

She asked if the uproar over his support for former minister Christian Porter over historical rape allegations, his recent attack on Grace Tame and Ms George’s lawsuit meant he had a problem with women.

She added: ‘According to those text messages, [the PM] is a complete psycho, but according to a statement of claim in the federal court, you’re bats*** crazy. 

‘Do you and do the prime minister have this in common?’

Van Onselen denied the accusation but declined to comment further about the legal issue, claiming the court papers had been ‘leaked’ by Ms George’s legal team.

Scot Morrison (pictured) also launched a personal attack at the TV pundit with a pointed snipe at van Onselen who is at the centre of the workplace bullying lawsuit

Scot Morrison (pictured) also launched a personal attack at the TV pundit with a pointed snipe at van Onselen who is at the centre of the workplace bullying lawsuit

Ms George’s lawsuit says she was left ‘anxious and distressed’ to the point of ‘vomiting’ because of the stress.

She joined the station in 2019 but has been on leave since June 2021 allegedly suffering ‘personal injury’ brought on by ‘stress to the point of incapacity’, the lawsuit alleged. 

While she was off work though, George claims that van Onselen allegedly wrote a ‘passive aggressive’ group email to colleagues that he was having to pick up her slack.

‘Tegan has extended her leave by another week,’ part of the email said, the lawsuit claims. ‘As mentioned I’m covering this weekend anyway. 

Tegan George (pictured) has worked for the channel since 2019 as a political reporter in the press gallery but has been on leave since June 2021 suffering a 'personal injury' brought on by 'stress to the point of incapacity'

Tegan George (pictured) has worked for the channel since 2019 as a political reporter in the press gallery but has been on leave since June 2021 suffering a ‘personal injury’ brought on by ‘stress to the point of incapacity’

‘It will be my 15th straight day working so Alex has very kindly offered to double check my work!!!’  

Van Onselen is one of several senior employees named in the lawsuit which claims the station failed to provide a safe working environment. 

On Wednesday, van Onselen told Virginia Trioli on ABC Radio Melbourne that the lawsuit had been leaked to the media by Ms George’s camp.

In her statement filed to the court, Ms George also claims Network Ten’s Political Editor would ‘background’ against her to other journalists.

Channel 10's Political Editor Peter Van Onselen has been named in legal action brought against the network by one of its reporters, Tegan George

Channel 10’s Political Editor Peter Van Onselen has been named in legal action brought against the network by one of its reporters, Tegan George

When she complained to her bosses about the ‘rude and hostile’ environment, executive editor Anthony Murdoch allegedly told her to deal with the ‘toxic’ culture.

George was allegedly then made to apologise for ‘hurting his feelings’ by making the accusations, according to her lawsuit.

Van Onselen is alleged to have rejected her complaint about feeling ‘unsupported, disrespected and unwelcome’ at the Canberra Bureau by saying he ‘did not give a s***’ how she was feeling’. 

The controversy for the veteran reporter comes just a week after he copped a fiery backlash for criticising 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame for refusing to smile when she greeted Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Australia Day at The Lodge.    

Channel 10 Political Editor Peter van Onselen found himself under attack after labelling Grace Tame 'ungracious, rude and childish' following her awkward encounter with Scott Morrison (pictured) at The Lodge last week

Channel 10 Political Editor Peter van Onselen found himself under attack after labelling Grace Tame ‘ungracious, rude and childish’ following her awkward encounter with Scott Morrison (pictured) at The Lodge last week

In her claim, the female reporter also alleges in the lawsuit that she often had to write van Onselen’s TV news packages on top of her own work she was already doing.

News director Ross Dagan allegedly told her ‘words to the effect that Mr van Onselen was the Network’s number one and said that they were all expected to build Mr van Onselen’s brand’, George’s statement said.

Worried about the workload her and another female colleague were under, a manager at the station allegedly replied: ‘What did you even do today? Painting your nails and drinking herbal tea?’

On occasions where Ms George performed well in her job, she claims van Onselen would attempt to undermine her. 

Network Ten Federal political reporter Tegan George (pictured) has launched legal action in the Federal Court against her employer, accusing it of breaching the Fair Work Act

Network Ten Federal political reporter Tegan George (pictured) has launched legal action in the Federal Court against her employer, accusing it of breaching the Fair Work Act

The lawsuit alleges the script of a federal government scoop was sent to Minister Greg Hunt’s office behind her back, prompting him to demand changes and ruining her exclusive. 

It also claims The Project host ‘publicly reprimanded’ her for not sending him her script days prior to her interview with Scott Morrison which received half a million views.

Just a month before she says she was forced to take personal leave, the situation came to a head after she allegedly overheard a conversation in Network Ten’s Parliament House bureau. 

George claims The Project host directed these tweets towards - but didn't mention her by name

George claims The Project host directed these tweets towards – but didn’t mention her by name

The lawsuit says says she was allegedly pressured into making a statement after she overheard a Network Ten employee and a freelance camera operator make ‘a sexist remark about another employee’.

The Network allegedly threatened her with disciplinary action if she did not speak up and make a report.

It’s alleged van Onselen then wrote a tweet she says was aimed at her on the topic of sexual harassment: ‘There should also be obligations on employees who witness it to report it, not cover it up.’

After an emotional meeting between Ten management and the media union in September, the lawsuit claims Van Onselen again tweeted about her, quoting a poem about ‘crying wolf’ and ‘looking for sympathy’.

Van Onselen declined to discuss the case on ABC Radio Melbourne on Wednesday and told host Virginia Trioli: ‘The statement of claim has been leaked, presumably by the other side, so I can’t comment.’

Network Ten will file a defence to the claims at a later date 

Read Peter van Onselen’s ‘passive aggressive’ group email, contained in court documents 

ALLEGED HUMILIATING EMAILS

When Tegan George eventually broke down and could no longer go into work due to the alleged ‘toxic’ working environment at Ten’s Canberra Bureau, she allegedly received even more ‘humiliating’ messages, her statement to the Federal Court claims.

Van Onselen allegedly wrote in a ‘passive aggressive’ group email to colleagues that he was being forced to pick up the slack since her time away, the claim says.

‘Tegan has extended her leave by another week,’ an excerpt from the email allegedly said.

‘As mentioned I’m covering this weekend anyway. It will be my 15th straight day working so Alex has very kindly offered to double check my work!!!’

TOXIC CULTURE CLAIMS

Before she took personal leave, when she allegedly complained to her bosses about the ‘rude and hostile’ environment, the lawsuit claims executive editor Anthony Murdoch told her: ‘Peter is bats*** crazy but we just have to get used to it’ and deal with the ‘toxic’ culture. 

Van Onselen is alleged to have rejected her complaint about feeling ‘unsupported, disrespected and unwelcome’ at the Canberra Bureau by saying he ‘did not give a s***’ how she was feeling’. 

CLAIMS OF HUMILIATION AND BELITTLING  

Worried about the workload her and another female colleague were under on another occasion, the lawsuit claims she raised the issue with a manager at the station who allegedly replied: ‘What did you even do today? Painting your nails and drinking herbal tea?’ 



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