Junie Morosi

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Junie Morosi (born 26 July 1933) is an Australian businesswoman, who became a public figure in the 1970s through her relationship with Jim Cairns, Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam Labor government. Morosi's appointment as Cairns's principal private secretary, and the nature of her relationship with him, aroused intense media interest, and the affair contributed to Cairns's eventual dismissal from office and the fall of the government.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Jim Cairns Australian politician, 4th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

James Ford Cairns, Australian politician, was prominent in the Labor movement through the 1960s and 1970s, and was briefly Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam government. He is best remembered as a leader of the movement against Australian involvement in the Vietnam War, for his affair with Junie Morosi and for his later renunciation of conventional politics. He was also an economist, and a prolific writer on economic and social issues, many of them self-published and self-marketed at stalls he ran across Australia after his retirement.

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia

The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Australia. The office of Deputy Prime Minister was officially created as a ministerial portfolio in 1968, although the title had been used informally for many years previously. The Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. When Australia has a Labor Government, the deputy leader of the parliamentary party holds the position of Deputy Prime Minister. When Australia has a Coalition Government, the Coalition Agreement mandates that all Coalition members support the leader of the Liberal Party becoming Prime Minister and mandates that the leader of the National Party be selected as Deputy Prime Minister.


Early life

Morosi was born in Shanghai, China, and educated in the Philippines. Her father was Italian and part-Chinese, her mother Portuguese and part-Chinese also. The family moved to Manila when she was a child and from age 8 she experienced life under Japanese occupation. She worked as a journalist, becoming political correspondent at the Manila daily newspaper Voz de Manila. She also worked in advertising and travel consultancy.

Shanghai Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China, the largest city in China by population, and the largest city proper in the world, with a population of 26.3 million as of 2019. It is a global financial center and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Eastern China coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the south, east and west, and is bound to the east by the East China Sea.

China Country in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

While Morosi was still a teenager she married a Filipino. Together they had three sons. In 1958 she was employed by Qantas, the Australian national airline. In 1962 she moved to Australia, where she married a British businessman living in Australia, David Ditchburn. [1] She continued to work in the airline and travel industry until 1974, when she was employed as an assistant to Al Grassby, the Commissioner for Community Relations. Grassby had been a minister in the Whitlam government before losing his seat in the May 1974 election. Her new job brought her into contact with other Whitlam government ministers. In Canberra she read and was impressed by one of Cairns' books, The Quiet Revolution, and arranged to meet him. [1]

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. It is the third oldest airline in the world, after KLM and Avianca having been founded in November 1920; it began international passenger flights in May 1935. The Qantas name comes from "QANTAS", an acronym for its original name, "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services", and it is nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo". Qantas is a founding member of Oneworld, an airline alliance.

Albert Jaime Grassby, AM was an Australian politician who served as Minister for Immigration in the Labor Whitlam Government. He completed reforms in immigration and human rights, and is often known as the father of Australian "multiculturalism".

1974 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 May 1974. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution. The incumbent Labor Party led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam defeated the opposition Liberal–Country coalition under Billy Snedden.

Jim Cairns

Cairns was then Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in the Whitlam government. Tom Uren, another Whitlam minister and one of Cairns's closest friends, later recorded that "Jim and Junie were attracted to each other from the first time they met."[ citation needed ] She was attracted to his intellect and personal charisma, and he responded to her emotional warmth and unorthodox attitudes. Morosi greatly admired Cairns from having read his academic writings and she introduced Cairns to the work of Wilhelm Reich, opening his mind to the relevance of human psychology as it related to social change. [2] The attraction soon became sexual, although whether and when their relationship became a sexual one remained a matter of controversy until 2002 when it was confirmed as such by Cairns. [3] [4]

Treasurer of Australia Australian government minister in charge of economic policy

The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government. The current holder of the position is Josh Frydenberg, whose term began on 24 August 2018.

Tom Uren Australian politician

Thomas Uren was an Australian politician and Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party from 1975–77. Uren served as the Member for Reid in the Australian House of Representatives from 1958–90, being appointed Minister for Urban and Regional Development (1972–75), Minister for Territories and Local Government (1983–84) and Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services (1984–87). He helped establish the heritage and conservation movement in Australia and, in particular, worked to preserve the heritage of inner Sydney.

In December 1974 Cairns offered Morosi a position as his Principal Private Secretary, a job traditionally held by a senior public servant. Her business background made the offer at least defensible, but she had no knowledge of Australian politics or economics, and not much experience of managing a large and complex office. The offer of employment aroused an immediate storm of sensationalist media coverage which began on Monday 2 December 1974. The fact that Morosi was "exotic" (the media's code-word for "Asian"), youngish (she was 41) and attractive was given much prominence. To this were soon added allegations that both she and Ditchburn had questionable business associates.[ citation needed ] It was also soon alleged that Ditchburn was using Morosi's position to further his business interests.[ citation needed ]

Cairns's friends urged him to withdraw the offer to Morosi, but out of both personal loyalty and a refusal to be bullied by the anti-Labor tabloid press, he refused. [2] He said that there would have been no media outcry "if I had appointed a man, or even a woman who was not good-looking."[ citation needed ] Cairns and others pointed out that Elizabeth Reid, who had been appointed Whitlam's advisor on women's issues in 1973, had received the same sort of media attention.[ citation needed ] In any case, Cairns and Morosi soon jointly decided it would be best not to flame the media fire any further and both publicly stated that Morosi would not take Cairns' offer of employment. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian reported on Cairns' and Morosi’s statements with "press accused of spying", claiming press vilification brought about the outcome, but in such a way that accepted no blame or responsibility. By this stage the media had raised the scandal to "Morosi storm rocking government" status, and bestowed upon it a moniker: "The Morosi Affair". The Liberal Opposition called for a senate inquiry into the business affairs of Morosi and Ditchburn.[ citation needed ]

<i>The Sydney Morning Herald</i> newspaper published in Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily compact newspaper in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia owned by Nine. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and a national online news brand. The print version of the newspaper is published six days a week.

<i>The Australian</i> Daily newspaper in Australia

The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964, and is the country's most circulated nationally distributed newspaper, available in each state and territory. It rivals with other nationally distributed newspapers like the business-focused Australian Financial Review and The Saturday Paper. The Australian is owned by News Corp Australia.

After investigation, it was revealed that there were no irregularities and on 13 December 1974 it was reported that Morosi would accept Cairns' offer of employment. [1] The media circus resumed. It was aggravated by Morosi's decision to give interviews to the Sydney tabloid The Sun and the mass-circulation Woman's Day. Morosi said: "If I had been a white Anglo-Saxon male there would have been no story at all. One day, I was the most sinister, deadly enemy of Australia - a member of the KGB, the Chinese mafia, you name it."[ citation needed ] During the Australian Labor Party's National Conference in February 1975, Cairns gave an interview to a hostile reporter in which he spoke of "a kind of love" for Morosi. The press continued to encourage speculation; at the National Conference, a photographer hid in a tree and waited while Morosi, her husband, Cairns and his wife were having breakfast on a balcony. The photographer took a photo just when Cairns’ wife left the balcony and with Morosi's husband out of shot. The Daily Telegraph ran the picture of Cairns and Morosi the next day with the headline "Breakfast with Junie". [1]

Allegations were levelled at Morosi that she used her position as Cairns' private secretary to cut Cairns off from his political associates and from alternative sources of advice.[ citation needed ] Morosi was working for Cairns during the incident that eventually led to Cairns' political demise. Cairns was introduced by Robert Menzies to George Harris, a Melbourne businessman and president of the Carlton Football Club. [5] Harris had offered to secure loan funds for the Australian government and in March 1975, Cairns signed a letter agreeing to a 2.5% commission. Many blamed the disorganised state of Cairns’ office for what ultimately turned out to be a misleading statement to parliament in June that he had not authorised any such commission. [6] Cairns claimed that he had signed the letter in question unknowingly while signing a batch of fifty or so letters, and that it was not uncommon practice for politicians to sign letters and subsequently to have little or no memory of their content. Ironically, politicians from across the aisle - Malcolm Fraser and a number of his ministers - spoke out in defence of Cairns on this subject, agreeing that they too signed letters of which they had little or no memory. But the fact remained that Cairns did sign the letter and, as a result, Whitlam dismissed Cairns from the ministry on 2 July 1975. The supposed relevance of this incident to Morosi is the implication that as Cairns' private secretary, Morosi was to blame for any disorganisation present in Cairns' office that may have contributed to him signing the infamous letter but not remembering having done so. However, in a 1998 interview, when asked whether Morosi was a good office organiser, Jim Cairns was quoted as saying "No. She wasn't supposed to be an office organiser. The criticism that has been levelled at her is made by very jealous and envious people, who were supposed to be organising the bloody office themselves." [2]

After Cairns was dismissed from the Ministry in July 1975, he kept Morosi on his backbencher's staff as a research assistant. She published her version of events in a book, Sex, Prejudice and Politics, later in the year. Together they worked on a new project for an alternative lifestyles festival to be held near Canberra. The Down to Earth Festival in December 1975 attracted 10,000 - 15,000 people. Cairns and Morosi continued to work on developing the movement until 1977, when Cairns retired from Parliament.

Life after politics

By 1977, however, the same allegations that had been made against Morosi in the political world were being made in the alternative lifestyle movement: specifically, that she was manipulating Cairns, and that her husband was manipulating both of them for financial gain.[ citation needed ] Cairns and Morosi subsequently severed any formal links with the Down to Earth movement in 1979 and the movement more or less fizzled out, leaving a legacy of ill-feeling and disputes over money which eventually led to litigation in the New South Wales courts.[ citation needed ]

By 1981 Morosi had moved on to a new project, the Wyuna Co-operative, a "community housing project" in Canberra involving Morosi and Ditchburn as well as Morosi's brother and sister-in-law, with some financial support from Cairns.[ citation needed ] In 1985 the co-operative received a $133,000 grant from the Community Housing Expansion Program of the federal Territories Department. When the National Times newspaper revealed this, Prime Minister Bob Hawke intervened and the program was wound up. Morosi complained that the controversy was entirely because of her involvement, and indeed an inquiry later found that there was nothing improper about the grant, although it was critical of Wyuna's management.[ citation needed ]

Despite the inquiry's findings, the government froze the grant and attempted various circuitous measures to ensure that the Wyuna Co-operative could not make use of it. The resulting proceedings dragged on, and in 1986 Morosi was hospitalised suffering from stress and exhaustion. In 1988, the matter was finally settled and the grant was provided.[ citation needed ] By this time however, the strain and legal costs had ruined both Morosi and Ditchburn's business interests and contributed to Morosi's divorce from Ditchburn. These events also effectively marked the end of Morosi's relationship with Cairns, who was reconciled with his wife, although Morosi and Cairns remained friends until Cairns' death in October 2003.

Defamation case

Morosi gradually faded from public attention, but her tumultuous years in the spotlight continued to haunt her. Media outlets continued to make allegations about her relationship with Cairns, and she successfully sued 2GB and The Daily Mirror for defamation. [1] She won $17,000 in damages from The Daily Mirror and $10,000 from 2GB. On 2GB Ormsby Wilkins had said that "Junie Morosi is an immoral adventuress who has slept with a variety of notable politicians." [7]

In The Daily Mirror case, Morosi told the court: "I felt insulted, angry, upset and hurt. It was very demeaning to me as a woman [to be called Cairns's 'girlfriend']. I saw myself as a professional, as a competent person doing her job. It was cheap. It was as though it had nothing to do with business but everything to do with sex." The jury decided the article in question did imply a sexual relationship, but was "not defamatory." In 2002 Cairns admitted his relationship with Morosi had been sexual. [3] [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Laing, Kate. "'A KIND OF LOVE': Supergirls, Scapegoats and Sexual Liberation" (PDF). University of Sydney. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 Film Australia (1998). "Australian Biography project interview with Jim Cairns, p. 9". The Australian Biography project. Screen Australia, Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  3. 1 2 Richard Ackland (20 September 2002). "Cairns admits sex, and breathtaking hypocrisy". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  4. 1 2 Annabel Crabb (16 September 2002). "Cairns admits Morosi affair". The Age. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  5. Harris & Main (2006) pp. 149-176
  6. "The loans affair, 1974–75 – Fact sheet 239". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  7. Rolph, David (2008). Reputation, Celebrity and Defamation Law. Ashgate Publishing. p. 109. ISBN   9780754671244 . Retrieved 2 November 2014.

Morosi's bibliography