The Joe and Tone show: Court battles and a winking PM

AS Treasurer Joe Hockey prepared for a court battle against Fairfax Media, he took a grilling from community sector representatives in Sydney on Wednesday.

Mr Hockey, who was the subject of a front-page article claiming he sold access to the Treasurer's office for donations to the Liberal Party, took legal action against the publishers on Wednesday.

The action, launched in the Federal Court, will claim the stories published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Canberra Times, were defamatory.

At the time of the publication, Mr Hockey responded, saying the allegations made in the story were "offensive and repugnant".

But as he sought to put out fires on the legal front, Mr Hockey was happy to sit down with community sector figures at a forum in Sydney.

The forum saw the Treasurer take a raft of questions from the floor, largely centred on pension and welfare benefit cuts, in good humour, but defended the budget as essentially to rectifying "Labor's mess".

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott took questions on live radio, sparking a ferocious online response, after he winked at cameras in the studios while talking to a woman claiming to be a telephone sex-line worker.

Mr Abbott was also hit by a raft of strong criticisms on the budget, with some callers labelling him a "liar" and claiming he was "treating us like idiots".

He responded, saying that he "absolutely concede(d)" that some taxes were going up, he had "never suggested otherwise", despite pre-election pledges that there would not be any new taxes or rises to existing ones.

Topics:  defamation fairfax media joe hockey tony abbott

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sharing cultures through food

DIG IN: Lockyer Valley Community Centre volunteers at the Harmony Day food tasting

Community centre hosts Harmony Day event

Gordon reflects on farming life in the Lockyer

LOOKING BACK: Laidley's Gordon Niebling says he has loved his farming life and living in the Lockyer Valley.

The self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades”, Gordon Niebling.

Clare Atkinson Journalism Scholarship needs your support

IN HONOUR: Brightview's Lesley Atkinson is urging the public to help continue the Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.

Help continue Clare Atkinson's legacy and the future of journalism.

Local Partners