Miss Morosi, who has been the centre of a political storm since the announcement on December 1 of her appointment as Dr Cairns’s private secretary, said: “I submit I would not have been subject to any of this if I had not been a migrant and an Asian.”
She also denied innuendoes about her former business activities, noted that she was considering legal actions against sections of the media, and told how her family had been harassed by the press.
Miss Morosi’s press conference—the first she has held since the affair flared into the headlines — was organised and paid for by Mr John Pola, a former director of public relations for Leyland and a friend of Miss Morosi.
Opening the press conference he said: “For the last 10 days I have seen her subjected to what can only be described as an ordeal by innuendo, the like of which I have not seen in my experience in Australia before.
“She has been subjected to a siege — it could be described as no less. She has been subjected to 24-hour surveillance by people determined to find out something wrong about her. So far they have not found it.
“I believe we’ve gone about as close to trial by media through Parliament as I hope we’ll ever go in our society.”
Mr Pola said that Miss Morosi was unique in that she was a victim not directly accused of anything, not charged with anything and not directly questioned about any wrongdoing.
I submit I would not have been subject to any of this if I had not been a migrant and an Asian.
Throughout the press conference, held in an overheated hotel function-room at Camperdown, Miss Morosi remained calm despite aggressive questioning by the 50 newsmen and women present.
She fielded even the most apparently difficult questions with aplomb.
She was wearing a white cotton dress with a gold chain, with a green jade pendant on it, and toepeeper shoes. Asked why she had not “cleared the air” over the controversy by talking with the media “a week ago when everyone wanted you to,” Miss Morosi said: “I truly believed that I was not that important, that it would all go away.”
Miss Morosi’s answers to other questions included:
Q: Do you really believe you have been treated unfairly by the press in Australia?
A: I find it difficult to believe that you need to ask that.
Q: You have accepted a position as private secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister of this country who will be acting Prime Minister this weekend. It is quite clear that neither Dr Cairns nor Senator Murphy knew of your history of business failure which was potential embarassment for the Australian Government. Did you feel no obligation to tell them of this business failure and other financial dealings? Do you feel that you failure to do so has embarrassed the Australian Government?
A: I think you are in error because there are several things mentioned here. Let me take the first one. Dr Cairns has stated publicly that he did not know my background. The second thing is no, I did not think it would embarrass anyone. Ninety per cent of all companies registered in Australia fail. I believe that this adds to the experience of an individual. I cheated nobody. There was no public moneys involved as indeed a lot of other companies here do have and are not criticised for this. The only moneys involved were moneys owing to me, to my fellow shareholders, who were all directors.
Questions on Miss Morosi’s Government job included:
Q: Are you going to take up the position (as Dr Cairns’ private secretary)?
A: I will not take up a position in which I am incapable of performing effectively. As the position now stands I do not believe I can.
Q: Why do you think so many people were against you taking the job with Mr Cairns?
A: There are so many reasons that could have been there, that are there, that are shown to be there that I don’t think I can really go into it. I think your guess is as good as mine.
Q: Did you ask for a job with Dr Cairns or did he offer it to you?
A: He offered it to me.
Q: What qualifications do you have for the job with Dr Cairns?
A: I believe I could have brought to the job a lot of experience, commercial and otherwise. I think I could have brought to it the qualities a woman could bring that a man couldn’t. I am thoroughly experienced in both of these areas.
Miss Moiosi also said that she had been advised by Senator Murphy not to take the job with Dr Cairnss but had gone ahead because she considered it a matter of freedom of choice.
Asked how she personally thought she would come out of the affair, she said: “I’ll survive.”
She added that her husband was very upset over the controversy and she did not know what the future held for her.
“I don’t believe you can tell the full story in a situation like this I have only asked for a chance to answer those innuendoes hanging over me, I hope I have done that,” she said.
Incident on TV
A man claiming to represent a legal process service handed papers to Miss Morosi at the end of a television interview yesterday.
The incident was shown on TCN 9 last night in the program, A Current Affair.
The program’s executive producer, Michael Schildberger, said, “there was a knock on the door, and a fellow walked in and said he had come to fix the airconditioning, or something like that. He brushed past and handed Miss Morosi some documents.
“He then said he represented a legal process service and we would have to get any further information from the company.”