Whoever Leaked Frances Abbott’s Student Records is in Trouble

Back in May, there was a fairly serious media kerfuffle surrounding a certain Frances Abbott, when leaked student records showed that the Prime Minister’s daughter had been granted a one-off, $60,000 scholarship to the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney. 
Tony Abbott, reportedly a “mate” of the institute’s chairman, was criticised for not declaring his daughter’s scholarship in his register of interests, while many, including this publication, questioned whether or not the scholarship was actually based on merit.
New Matilda, who were the first to obtain Ms Abbott’s records, maintain that publishing this confidential information was in the public interest. The Whitehouse Institute themselves, however, were not thrilled about the leak, and referred the matter on to police.
The Australian report that NSW police are nearing the end of their investigation into how Ms Abbott’s confidential information, and that of up to 500 other Whitehouse students, was obtained. Spoiler alert: it’s fairly likely a disgruntled staff member did it.
Two staff from the institute have resigned since the leak, and earlier today, with no apparent traces of irony, The Australian published a series of leaked, internal emails that would appear to relate to the Frances Abbott incident. 

The emails were exchanged between part-time staffer and artist Melletios Kyriakidis and academic Freya Newman, on May 20, the day before New Matilda published its Frances Abbott piece.

“Did you get it!!” asked Kyriakidis, to which Newman replied she was on “edupoint right now and there’s very little on here but just trying to generate a report.” Edupoint is student management software used by Whitehouse and many other higher education institutions.
Newman added: “There’s a bit about Francis (sic) meeting with Leanne on Feb 21 2011 and then receiving a managng (sic) director scholarship for 2011 three days later . . that’s all I’ve found for the moment.” 
In a further email, Newman said “got em. Might go meet Chris now to talk tactics. see you tomorrow.” The “Chris” being referred to is likely New Matilda editor Chris Graham, although he refused to discuss his sources for the Frances Abbott story.

It is alleged that Newman, who did not have access to the Edupoint software, used another staff member’s details to log into the system. Neither she nor Kyriakidis have spoken to media since the story broke.

NSW police say that they are waiting on confirmation of “one further detail” before completing their investigation, meaning that someone is probably in for a fairly serious slap on the wrist at some point soon. 

Photo: Caroline McCredie via Getty Images