Having given up on John Howard, young Lachlan Murdoch has decided it is time to schmooze the next generation of young Libs who Hillary hears were mightily excited about meeting the billion-heir.

How did the news of a dinner last week where Lachlan Murdoch met a number of young state and Federal Coalition MPs get into Kooka? Well, Hillary understands that some of the attendees got quite overexcited by the event and were less than discreet.

The do, organised by the lachrymose wannabe New South Wales Liberal leader “John-Boy” Brogden, was held at Macquarie Bank – with former minister and bonus beneficiary Uncle Warwick Smith there to make sure all the girls and boys behaved.

Jeff For Canberra

Jeff says he’s not running for Menzies – so where did the yarn come from?

Hillary hears that the story sprang from the fertile mind of Louise Stately, as a tactic to disturb the demeanour of the saintly Kevin Andrews.

A mutant variety flourished briefly mid-week – Jeff for Kooyong. It will be interesting to see when nominations close this Thursday if Petro Georgiou is challenged, too.

PS While there seems to be plenty of murmuring in the safe seats, Hillary hears that there are very few takers for the marginals. What a big vote of confidence in the local party.

Broad Interests

Is there no end to the talents of the Mad Monk, Tony Abott? He turns up in this month’s Adelaide Review – reviewing the latest Harry Potter.

Principled, Not Peevish

The e-mails flood in from South Australia in the wake of the Liberal AGM – and with a Senate preselection looming.

Still, Hillary can only applaud the SA Libs for not letting big money influence their decisions.

The SA Division manages to scrape by, but is no shape to fight both a Federal and state election in the next 15 months. Still, the outgoing state exec, in its last meeting at the AGM, decided to appoint what Hillary’s correspondent calls “a mad old bat” to the party state council rather than Rob Gerrard, the party’s biggest local donor.

Hillary congratulates the SA Libs on their principles – as Hillary is sure that the decision has nothing to do with Gerrard’s support for dumped premier Dean Brown.

Factional Loyalty

South Australian Liberal Senators Jeannie Ferris and Alan Fergusson are said to be gunning for their right wing factional mate, “Government” Grant Chapman, in next month’s preselection.

Their candidate, one Martin Whyte, is said to have One Nation leanings and comes from Kimba, on the state’s sparsely populated Eyre Peninsula – an area with one Liberal Senator already, Fergie.

Party Loyalty

Hillary also hears that one of the Senators up for preselection gave recently resigned SA Labor Senator John Quirke a bucketful of dirt to throw in Estimates at Environment Minister and factional enemy Robert Hill – over the appointment of yet another factional enemy and failed Senate preselection candidate to a Landcare position.

More Seats To Lose

Still in South Australia, Premier Buffy has come up with a novel way to lose even more seats at the next election.

He is proposing the creation of two “virtual” Legislative Councillors, MPs with full powers and privileges voted on via the internet by the many South Australians who have shifted interstate and overseas.

This is indeed an interesting idea – particularly given that Buffy himself, exhausted by the effort of pushing electricity privatisation through, was urging a cut in the number of Councillors not that many weeks ago.

The Evils of Economic Rationalism – Continued

How would you like picking up the tab for the lobbying efforts of one of Australia’s largest companies? Well, thanks to the people protecting you against the ravages of economic rationalism, that’s exactly what you are doing.

All the economic trogs have been out in force over the week – Peter Andren, De-anne Kelly, Rob Borbidge etc – all whinging about how Telstra has been trying to buy their vote.

What about the real scandal? These corporate ticket packages are worth around $10,000 each – and more than half of this is taxpayers money.

If only these primordials could start using basic flint tools and let the rest of Telstra be sold, then the company’s spivs would be wasting their shareholders’ money – not ours.

Melbourne Trots

Saturday morning had Hillary reaching for the smelling salts – an article in the Age in support of globalisation!

Meanwhile, Hillary understands that there is no truth to the rumor that S11 members plan to stand stagflation fan Ken “Puddleglum” Davidson in the arrivals hall at Tullamarine to scare off delegates to the World Economic Forum.

Bent Banana?

Say it ain’t so! With all the hoo-ha over dodgy Labor electoral practices in Queensland of late, are we about to see a few Libs get caught in the net over dodgy enrolments?

Hillary hears of a state candidate and pioneer of ethnic branch stacking whose actual address and electoral enrolment weren’t even close.

This all follows the famous Young Lib stacks a few years back where people ended up on the books without their consent, non existent people appeared on membership lists and, best of all, a dog was joined up to boost numbers in the Queensland Uni Liberal Club.

Loose Change

Rumours also fly over the impressive fundraising efforts of the would-be Queensland Liberal leader Santo Santoro – particularly if all the funds were properly declared – and Federal Liberal president Lynton Crosby is said to be taking an interest.

The Gall Of Gallus

The Liberal rank and file in the Federal seat of Moncrieff, about to be vacated by long serving member Kathy Sullivan, are not amused by the actions of electorate committee chairman Peter Gallus – who also has his eye on the seat.

Gallus has opted to have delegates to the upcoming Senate preselection chosen by him and his executive – not by a vote of party members as required by the party constitution.

The members are now wondering just how much say they will have when Sullivan’s successor is chosen.

Sea Change

One of the Lib backbenchers who got wobbly on fuel excise last week was Victorian Fran Bailey – who, funnily enough, hosted a workshop back in April at the Liberal’s federal conference on “Staying on Message”.

Hillary can be contacted at [email protected]