Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rudd Plagiarism

The Courier Mail today has run a story accusing Kevin Rudd of plagiarism of 26 words in his essay for The Monthly.

The story doesn't acknowledge that this as first reported by The Oz on Monday. The difference between the two stories is that the Oz noted that the 26 words were indeed quotes that the two pieces shared in common, and the Courier Mail didn't acknowledge that the "research" was conducted by the Liberals.

So let me repeat the comments I made in Crikey on Tuesday.

Clearly the Liberals are sniffing the chance to hang Rudd with the same complaints that were made against Julie Bishop. This would be a great political win, and provide the deputy Liberal leader with some much needed cover. But we are then breathlessly informed "both men produced identical quotes from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan to demonstrate the weaknesses of the global financial system."

So what is the charge -- that both accurately quoted the original? Or that Rudd "cheated" by quoting the same sources. Claiming this is plagiarism is like suggesting two students cheated because they both quoted the "To be or not to be" soliloquy when writing an essay on Hamlet.

Far worse for their case though is the implication that the Liberals have already subjected the Rudd piece to the "Google test" of typing whole phrases into the search engine and looking for a match. If this is all they have found they should shut up about it. All they would do now is just highlight how egregious the plagiarism on their side of the House was.

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