Veracity in politics comes in at least 50 shades of grey, particularly when a government and its leader are in distress and nobody quite knows what to do about it.
In June, 2010, Julia Gillard was indignant at talk of a looming leadership coup when interviewed by Fairfax Media.
Any suggestion that she would challenge Kevin Rudd for the prime ministership, she said, was ''ridiculous''.
''Let me assure you there's nothing in the newspapers that is impacting on the way I do my real job. The whole thing is just absurd,'' she declared.
Eight days later, those same newspapers were able to report that Ms Gillard was Prime Minister and Mr Rudd was toast.
In February 2012, with Ms Gillard trying to recover from Mr Rudd's failed attempt to grab back the leadership amid much renting of garments, a report appeared in Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald asserting that former NSW premier Bob Carr was being secretly recruited to the Senate.
Within hours Carr's office in Sydney issued a press release.
Carr's name, it said, ''had often figured in speculation about federal political vacancies'', but he was ''not pursuing the vacant NSW Senate seat''.
By the end of that very week, Carr burst on to the national stage as Prime Minister Gillard's personal trophy.
He would indeed be a Senator, replacing NSW right-wing powerbroker Mark Arbib, and he would be the new Foreign Minister.
On Tuesday, Fairfax's The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald reported on their front pages that Bob Carr had told colleagues he had lost confidence in Ms Gillard's leadership some time ago.
Carr, away in Washington, was towering in his denial that any such thing had ever passed his lips.
He offered ''unqualified support'' for Ms Gillard's leadership and lamented that the reporter hadn't asked him for comment, for he would have killed the story.
Those in Canberra with long memories recall that one of the more wonderful moments in the art of denial came on Thursday, December 12, 1991. Six cabinet ministers trooped to prime minister Bob Hawke's office to tell him his time was up and Paul Keating had the momentum.
The ever-colourful foreign minister Gareth Evans put it succinctly to Hawke. ''Pull out, digger, the dogs are pissing on your swag.''
Hawke refused to go. The unfortunate Kim Beazley was sent out to address a near hysterical throng of journalists.
''At the end of those discussions [between the ministers and Mr Hawke] the Prime Minister expressed the view . . . that he intended to remain leader of the Labor Party until the next election,'' said Beazley, sweat trickling. ''Senior ministers endorsed that position and that is the situation.''
And perhaps it was, though within seven days, Hawke was gone and Keating was installed.
At present, of course, Senator Carr may well be Ms Gillard's loyal lieutenant.
A year ago he might not have been pursuing a Senate seat four days before one was handed to him.
In 2010, Ms Gillard may have firmly believed it an absurd proposition that she would challenge and destroy Kevin Rudd's prime ministership eight days before she did. You just have to take your pick from all those shades of grey.