Barnett can't defend press chief's email

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Barnett can't defend press chief's email
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  • Dixie Marshall
    Australian journalist
  • Colin Barnett
    Former Western Australian politician

Colin Barnett said yesterday that he could not defend an "inappropriate" email sent by his director of government media to a news organisation, which described a journalist as a "sanctimonious moll".

But he stopped short of taking any action against Dixie Marshall, saying the senior Department of Premier and Cabinet staff member had apologised and that would be the end of the matter.

Labor frontbencher Mich-elle Roberts grilled the Premier in question time, demanding to know whether he was happy to employ someone who "uses language that denigrates women".

Mr Barnett said the email had been "sent to a fellow staff member in error" before it was inadvertently sent to the news organisation.

"I'm not defending it," he said. "It was inappropriate."

_The West Australian _understands Ms Marshall sent the email, which referred to an ABC journalist in the subject line, to a fellow government media officer.

It was then sent on to ABC Perth news director Kim Jordan.

In the email, Ms Marshall complained about an ABC report on Monday night that drew attention to Treasurer Mike Nahan hiring former journalist Robert Taylor on a six-figure contract to help sell the Budget.

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