Hillary Bray, Crikey’s Liberal insider, has produced her usual dose of great insider gossip. Suck it and see for yourself.

At the time of writing, Peter Reith is still in his job – and the Ministerial Code of Conduct has been simplified. It now reads “So fucking what?”.

Hit list

It’s frightening to see just how many senior figures in the Government are now caught up in the Telecard affair. There’s the Hunchback of Phillip Island himself, the Rodent, John Fahey, Ho – the former Special Minister of State – and the not particularly distinguished incumbent, Chris “Charter Flights” Ellison.

One Prime Minister, three Cabinet members and a Minister – a lot of people to lose.

Commonwealth Clouseaus

One other Minister probably deserves a mention in this matter – Incredible Bulk Amanda Vanstone – for her stewardship of the Australian Federal Police.

This fine force of farcical flat-foots have covered themselves in glory during the Telecard affair. Presumably they were to busy trying to con cash from the Commonwealth for er doing their job in Timor to get the facts right.

The usual suspects

Conspiracy theory time. Was the Australian’s story that Mr Y, Song Lim, and his family ran up most of the $50,000 on Peter Reith’s Telecard the result of “investigations” – or a Government leak?

Mr Lim, after all, is the perfect suspect. He’s not a good looking former private school girl from Adelaide’s eastern suburbs. He’s a foreigner – and worse, an Asian. That should satisfy the rednecks of talk radio.

If matters should come to a trial, Dr Mahathir might even refuse to have him extradited – sparing a lot of embarrassment all round.

Lest we forget

Is Health Minister Michael “Charge it” Wooldridge, breathing sighs of relief at the moment? He shouldn’t be. No doubt his extraordinary use of his ministerial credit card will be under the spotlight when Parliament resumes.

Corridor talk says that the Minister’s record keeping hasn’t been all that good. Oh dear. John Sharp discovered that wasn’t an excuse.

They’re going back to Yarrawonga

If you’re heading to Wodonga and see cockies dancing in the fields, chances are they are members of Indi branches of the National Party.

Why are the celebrating? Well, in an unparalleled bout of stupidity, the local Libs have preselected the semi employed Melbourne barrister and maniacal monarchist Sophie ‘Uptown Girl’ Panopolous to replace retiring member Lou Liberman and the Nats are sure that means they’ll win the seat.

Sophie’s very much the city girl. To her, a drought occurs when the Mink Bar runs out of Bollinger. She’ll go down a storm in the bush. In contrast, the Nats have a good short list of young local candidates including a mayor.

Most of all, Sophie’s preselection shows just how the Victorian Libs have learnt sod all since they were trounced in the bush at the state election 12 months ago.

Indi includes a town called Benalla. Now where have we heard that name before?

Saved!

Kerry Jones and all her monarchist mates spent last year’s referendum telling punters that politicians couldn’t be trusted.

It’s fortunate then for Kerry that the Liberal preselectors of New South Wales decided not to put her in such an invidious position when choosing a new Legislative Councillor.

Elites

Our monarchists did much to save Joe and Mrs Punter from exploitation by elites last year, or so they say – which is why Monarchy 2000, AKA the Monarchist League, is holding an egalitarian event to celebrate the first anniversary of their referendum win at er Lady Mary Fairfax’s humble (Sydney) home in er the heart of battler territory – Double Bay.

“Media,” the invite says, “has been requested to televise the Reception both as a news as well as a cultural event.”

It then adds “Thoughts in Yugoslavia are turning to the benefits of Constitutional Monarchy and there is a possibility of the restoration of the Royal Family. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander is currently in Yugoslavia and the thoughts and prayers of all those who believe that the best way to protect the democracy of the People is through Constitutional Monarchy.”

Hillary understands that when this mob call themselves as “Monarchy 2000”, they refer to 2000 BC. And what about King Zog of Albania and his heirs and successors?

Give peace a chance

Members of the Arab community marched against war in the Middle East in Sydney last week.

Strange, then, that their target was the United States consulate – the representative offices of the government that has worked hardest to encourage the peace process over the last decade.

The Cult of Col

Like our editor, Hillary is always impressed by pissing in the sink, and watched attentively as the Sunday program profiled Daily Telegraph editor Col Allan.

Hillary found it amazing that Sunday discovered a journalist called Mark Day to praise Col who even looked like the Mark Day who writes for the Tele. They can’t have been the one and the same. After all, Sunday would have told us.

Hillary was even more impressed by the comments of the oleaginous Stuart Littlemore, who called Col a “bully”. This surely cannot be the same Stuart Littlemore who in his days as host of Media Watch would never, ever apologise – even when found wrong and in breach of the ABC’s code of conduct -and who, with his equally precious producer, David Salter, when his feelings were hurt would fire off self righteous missives with a speed that made that equally hypersensitive hypocrite John Pilger look like a sluggard?

Abreast of it all

Talking of the Tele, the Sunday edition ran a feature on plastic surgery this weekend, featuring before and after shots of a pair of breasts. They weren’t Ros Reines’, were they? And the ad from Ros’ pal Dr Eng-Peng Ten – was that paid for or still contra?

Staying with matters mammary, Ros’ column featured a yarn about Mimi Macpherson having trouble with her top. So what? Hillary though that most of Australia had seen even more of Mimi – Transport Minister John Anderson’s office used to always be happy to screen THAT video.

Hillary presumes Ros was bottle-fed.

Demokrasi

So Foreign Minister Lex Loser cancelled his meeting with Dr Wan Azizah, wife of the framed former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Presumably it is all part of the Howard Government’s winding back of Australia’s traditional commitment to human rights at home and abroad.

His master’s voice

Hillary heads to Artarmon to personally present Peter Harvey with the Order of the Brown Nose for his reporting of Bruce Gyngel’s memorial service. Working in that “still the one” at the end must have sent the boss over the moon, hey Pete?

Consolation prize

The top end of town were out in force for a $500 a head lunch for the New South Wales Liberal Party on Friday.

Chikka spoke, and then the lucky door prizes were drawn – and Peter Collins walked away with a spanking new TV. Hillary bets it will be wonderful for filling in all the time he has to himself.

S is for Sad

The fine folk from S11 were also there on Friday – and the poor protestors claimed their freedom of speech had been violated when they were prevented from preventing guests from entering and exercising their freedom of speech.

They were at it again on Saturday, when a lone loon non-violently threw a cream pie at Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and knocked over an eight year old.

No doubt they would say that these are the contradictions of capitalism.

Sinking in the West

Western Australian Liberal Party campaigners have been told to get ready for a December election. The Perth Christmas Pageant is on the December 9, making the second a likely date.

The only problem is that candidates have not been selected for safe Labor seats – and Liberal Legislative Councillors are worried what this might mean for their chances. Without adequate campaigns in all seats, their jobs will be under threat.

At the same time, many people within the party – from all factions – are getting sick to death of head office incompetence. Already the North Metropolitan preselection has had to be run twice after the state director allowed unentitled delegates to attend, and there has even been an appeal against the second.

An early federal election would be disastrous for WA Libs, as preselections have not even began – and are unlikely to for some time yet as branch allocation has not reorganised following the seat redistribution.

More on Menzies

Poor Shane Stone. Hillary hears that after he supported Kevin Andrews in the Menzies preselection he copped a bucketing from his successor Marshall Perron – the man behind the Territory’s euthanasia laws.

Red card

So Kate Carnell has finally done the right thing and resigned over the Bruce Stadium scandal.

The question now is will she run for the Senate for the ACT and knock off Senate President Margaret Reid, long past her use-by date? Hillary hears Gerry Wheeler, the PM’s right wing ideologue in residence and pretender to the position, is feeling most distressed.

Offside

South Australians are marvelling at the similarities between Carnell and their own beloved Tourism Minister, Joan “Elvira” Hall.

Carnell resigned after presiding over a massive blowout in the cost of refurbishing Canberra’s soccer stadium to host Olympic games – and any day now Elvira is expected to be denounced by an Auditor General’s report into a massive blowout in the cost of refurbishing Adelaide’s soccer stadium to host Olympic games.

Will Elvira do the decent thing, too? It doesn’t really matter. Hillary’s Adelaide moles say that the crossbenchers have had it with Elvira’s incompetence and are ready to join forces with the Labor Opposition in a no-confidence motion.

Rebuffed

Elvira’s boss, Premier Buffy Olsen, has enjoyed a couple of notable successes of his own in recent week.

Firstly, Buffy tried to remove the certifiable Liberal defector, Peter Lewis, from his crucial position as chair of the South Australian Parliament’s Procedure Committee. In a remarkable vote of confidence, several of Buffy’s Liberal colleagues missed the division, while others clearly were confused and voted for candidates who hadn’t even nominated. The result? Lewis was back with a greater majority.

Then, last Monday, Buffy demanded that his state executive skip a preselection in the seat of Unley, where sitting right winger and Cabinet Minister Mark Brindall has long been on the nose. They declined.

Counting friends

Brindall doesn’t necessarily need Buffy’s support. He has proved quite capable of looking after himself. Some 130 new members recently joined his own branch in Adelaide’s inner south in one week.

Two of them live on a vacant lot in the eastern suburbs, another 11 occupy a single post office box in Echuca, Victoria – just one of 63 interstate addresses new members gave – while others apparently aren’t even aware that they have joined the Party.

Brindall, however, is not the only South Australian busy recruiting. Hillary hears that one of the reasons former state minister Bob Such turned independent a few weeks ago were the recruiting efforts in his seat by the undistinguished Federal oncer Susan Jeanes.

Happy Chappie

South Australian Liberal Senator “Government” Grant Chapman is a happy chappie after beating a concerted campaign waged against his preselection by factional “allies” Ho and Jeannie Ferris last Friday night.

Strangely, Ferris was overheard complaining that she hadn’t been invited to his celebration drinks.

Master class

Fun and games continue in Defence Minister John Moore’s seat of Ryan.

A kind soul has faxed a recent new members list to Hillary. Fourteen of the 25 new recruits live outside the electorate – including one in Sydney.

Blonde ambition

Hillary hears that New South Wales Senator Helen Coonan has a staffer out travelling the state to facilitate “branch development” – handily close to a preselection. Is any travel allowance being claimed?

Said staffer might need to work very hard. Hillary also hears that despite her Pauline conversion, Coonan has failed to win the support of vital elements of the right – including the PM’s office.

Helping hand

Fellow republic wreckers Phil Clearly and Tasmanian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Jocelyn Scutt, appear to have been happily spending the Tasmanian taxpayer’s money.

Hillary hears that Scutt invited Cleary to address a conference in Hobart last week, but poor Phil was either not intelligent enough or industrious enough to have his paper submitted on time – so Scutt approved expenditure of $500 from her budget to pay for a researcher to write Phil’s paper

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

CRIKEY: Great column HB, and if that wasn’t enough, check out last week’s.

Who needs Hillary?

Reithy! Mike! Take a bow! Thanks to you, Hillary doesn’t need to do a column this week. Instead, Hillary can sit back and watch you cringe in the contempt of a nation.

You should both be out the door by now. The fact that you are still Ministers shows the Rodent’s complete contempt for parliamentary standards and public opinion – and just how terrified he is of upsetting Government MPs and opening up room for a challenge.

Just in case, dear readers, any of you have been moved by the pieties uttered by various Labor politicians during the week, don’t. They’d be just as bad.

Honourable members – you shame us.

Help Hillary help Hanson ,/b>

All is sweetness and light at Crikey as we celebrate the wedding of the year – and Hillary has decided to use the event to undermine our editor’s finances even more by giving away three free subscriptions. Here’s what you have to do:

Hillary was much touched by the perils poor Pauline Hanson faced last week – especially when she was forced to admit that David Oldfield was entitled to have access to One Nation’s office as a director of the party’s business arm Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Limited.

The trouble with parties like One Nation is that everyone wants to be Fuhrer – so plucky Pauline is sacking most of her officials. But David Oldfield seems to be a stumbling block – when Hanson was asked at a recent press conference how she could remove Oldfield as a director, she replied “Got any suggestions?”

That’s what Hillary wants – ideas from Crikey readers to help Hanson. Send YOUR ideas on how David Oldfield can be removed to [email protected]

Hillary promises to send all entries to Pauline Hanson – with your name removed, of course – and three lucky contributors will win Crikey subs.

The competition closes Saturday 21 October – so hurry. Get your entry in now.

Share the spirit – but keep the power

Hillary hears that the Prime Miniature had so much fun during the Olympics that he may change his mind about leaving after the next election.

The poor chap seems to be suffering from embarrassing “love affair with the Australian people” delusions – and his henchmen were kept busy during the games running down Peter Costello with the suits in the corporate boxes.

Love in

Who was fascinated by the soft, sycophantic interview between Maxine McKew and Olympic Village Mayor Graham Richardson on last Monday’s 7:30 Report?

Their mutual Packer links weren’t responsible for the lovey-dovey atmosphere, were they? Not on our ABC, surely!

Lazarus with a quintuple bypass

Former New South Wales Liberal leader Bruce “Thumper” McDonald – famed for losing his own seat – is said to have been sounding people out about replacing Shane Stone as next Federal President.

Unsurprisingly, he is being met with a very cool response.

Foreign affairs

A very peculiar e-mail reaches Hillary from the Shaky Isles. It claims that the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau sexually molested the 12 year old daughter of a senior New Zealand figure while on an official visit in the late 60s.

Are there any Canuck Crikey readers who can help with this astounding allegation?

Made to look a prat

The Hun’s already reported on how box billionaire Richard Pratt was forced to withdraw a reference for John Davies, the unsuccessful challenger in last Monday’s Kooyong preselection.

However, no-one seems to have remembered that Pratt is a major Liberal donor.

Pratt has been feeling sensitive ever since the Sydney mistress and love child story broke earlier this year. After this humiliation, how generous is he going to be to his old pals on Exhibition Street?

Backed by the Holy Trinity

The battle for Menzies on Saturday went right down to the wire with the Holy Trinity – the PM, the Treasurer and God – doing the numbers for Kevin Andrews.

Andrews was sent home from Parliament by the PM during the week so he could try and shore up support for his preselection campaign. Costello also came out in support of his fellow Victorian as did Peter Reith, even Archbishop George Pell – acting as God’s proxy – weighed into the preselection stoush.

Victorian Liberal president Ian Carson also came to Andrews’ rescue, effectively knifing his factional stablemate and Menzies challenger Louise Staley. Three pro-Andrews branches, previously disallowed, were readmitted by Carson and neophyte state director Brian Loughnane.

It was a tough week for the first term President who has been previously accused of being shy on controversial issues. Last Monday night Ian Carson locked horns with his predecessor Joy Howley in the Kooyong preselection where Howley was actively lobbying delegates to support challenger John Davies. Howley’s faction are already vowing to bring Carson down at the next AGM citing Carson’s lack of personal numbers as being his Achilles heel. Howley was also busy earlier in the week, publicly rowing with former minister and bonkrat Ian Smith at the Coorangamite preselection.

Funnily enough, the biggest winner in Menzies wasn’t even in the race. State MP for Doncaster, Victor Perton, would like to go Federal. It’s been murmured that be brought his numbers in behind Andrews to see off an outsider challenger now – leaving the coast clear for him to make a run once all the nasty business of a federal election is out of the way.

Party party

Liberal Members and staffers trooped down to the Fed Sec on Wednesday night to celebrate the second anniversary of the 98 election win.

Noted wit and federal director, Lynton Crosby, welcomed the hordes by telling them he would not be crowd surfing – and neither would Kim Beazley, unless the Bulgarian weightlifting team were there to help. Ho, ho!

South Australian non-entity Trish Draper seemed a little worse for wear – and impressed everyone by spilling a glass of red all over Hillary’s old mate “Slippery Pete” Slipper when she went to hug him.

Doctor Who?

Life isn’t getting any better for the hapless Queensland Liberal leader, Dr David Watson.

Watson, off at a party function and exchanging small talk with new members, was a little taken aback when he was asked who he was and what he did.

An oversight?

Loony right winger and holder of the unwinnable number four spot on the Queensland Liberal Senate ticket, Debbie Kember, has not been reappointed as divisional webmaster.

Kember may well have put a few noses out of joint by publishing her own candidate profile before Ministers John Herron and Ian Macdonald or holder of the number three spot, Asia expert Russell Trood.

And the Ryan saga continues

The members of the Queensland Liberal executive had a marathon meeting on Friday lasting well past 2am. The big ticket item for the meeting was consideration of the independent QC’s report into the dodgy ballot for chair of the electorate committee in Defence Minister John Moore’s much stacked seat of Ryan. Grant Muller, an exec member – and Michael Kroger’s Queensland rep – stood down from the meeting citing a conflict of interest as it was his wife Penny Behan was a contender for the position. There was no such gesture from Bob Tucker, the beneficiary of the suspect ballot, who stayed on throughout the course of the meeting.

Readers will remember from last week that the independent report recommended that a new ballot be held for chair of the Ryan FEC. Senator Ian Macdonald moved to put the recommendations of the report aside and declare Bob Tucker chair of the Ryan FEC. The motion was trampled on by the exec with even Macdonald’s own pressie secretary and Herbert FEC chair, David Moore, voting against the motion.

In the end, the exec resolved to reconvene the Ryan FEC for another ballot for Chair later this month.

Borbidge for Canberra

Ghastly as it may seem, there is still talk that Queensland National Party leader and cave dweller Rob Borbidge will move to Canberra – as a Liberal. The Queensland Liberal exec still hasn’t opened the preselection in Moncrieff, being vacated by moderate Kathy Sullivan – despite all the preselections for Labor seats now being open and the FEC only having $1,200 in their account to fight the next federal election.

State leader David Watson has argued that it didn’t have to be opened now because if Rob Borbidge was Premier than he wouldn’t run for Moncrieff and if Borbidge wasn’t Premier he probably would run and “would be very difficult to beat.”

Yuk!

Just fancy that!

Millionaire businessman Dick Smith said today Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson had let the country down.

Mr Smith said he held a public meeting in Mr Anderson’s electorate recently in a bid to unseat him because of his poor performance.

AAP, 3 October 2000

Is Dick Smith – producer of “Pauline’s Pantry Foreigner Free Foods” (Hillary might have that name wrong) – about to bankroll an independent candidate to run against Transport Minister and National Party Leader John Anderson in his seat of Gwydir?

Crikey, 2 July 2000

The Sunday Telegraph’s gossip queen, Ros Reines, finally went into print on the weekend on her decision to undergo plastic surgery to have her breasts enlarged “Ros Reines paid substantially less for very publicly telling her story”, the disclosure at the end of the piece in the Sunday Magazine said. It’s not the first time Reines and the “world expert on breast augmentation”, Dr Eng-Peng Ten have collaborated on such a venture.

The Australian, 5 October 2000

Talking of Piers[Ackerman], nasty rumours are doing the rounds on the Sydney media circuit that a Sunday Telegraph colleague gets her plastic surgery done on a contra basis. Guess who, don’t sue!

Crikey, 3 September 2000

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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