Hillary is a total bitch for sledging her editor and calling him a “fruitcake” last week but this week she’s refocused on more traditional enemies in the political arena.

Fergie inherited his committee chair from the late Peter Nugent – and didn’t want the obvious negative comparisons being made. So he painstakingly negotiated the contents through with Labor – and was caught out completely when the Dems and Brian Harradine suddenly produced as scathing dissenting report.

Deep North

The Country Liberal Party are getting noisy again, with murmurings that Senator Grant Tambling will face a move against his preselection for not backing internet gambling.

Hillary hears that former Chief Minister Marshall Perron wants to send a message to the Prime Miniature to back off the Territory – and get some revenge for the overturning of euthanasia laws all those years ago.

Solidarity forever

Where were the comrades when the workers blockaded Macquarie Street to prevent the scab social fascists of the Carr Government crossing their picket line?

Well, Hillary hears that a few of them – including one Minister – saw out the unpleasantness that occurred when their fellow MPs tried to enter Parliament for the caucus meeting far away from it all at a cafe in Leichhardt. The names that have been mentioned include Grant MacBride, Morris Iemma, Graham West and brave leaders of tomorrow like Cherie Burton, Joe Tripodi and Reba Meagher.

Funny. Hillary thought that Joe, for one, may have enjoyed the press of bodies.

PS Hillary hears that half the mob protesting were old BLF heavies from Melbourne, up in Sin City as part of their plan to stack the CFMEU. Fart Boy Slim has got some real problems with the brothers.

Gross impertinence

A Crikey reader encountered ABC Chairman Closet McCloset at Sydney’s Martin Place station last week – and was promptly told, when he asked when Jonathon Shier would be sacked “That’s an inappropriate question”.

PS Shier was asked during a recent Senate Estimates hearing by Milhous lackey Paul Calvert if it was true that the notorious pinko Greg Barns was a consultant to the Friends of the ABC. He replied in the affirmative. As far as Hillary is aware, the closest that Barns has got to such a role is attending an ABC rally the Mayne Man was speaking at in Sydney as a prelude to a trip down the pub. No doubt Shier will be keen to correct the record.

Brisbane Bourbons

What a bright bunch they are up in the Queensland Liberal Party. They haven’t exactly learned anything from the great Battle of Ryan.

Sources say that Whinging Pom Michael Johnson has renounced his British citizenship and wants to come back for a second shot. The just unsuccessful candidate Bob Tucker thinks he deserves another go, and – if there’s going to be a brawl, the third major preselection candidate, Matt Boland, feels it would be remiss of him to sit it out.

The only thing the Queensland Libs have going for them at the moment is that Santo Santoro – seatless and no friend of new party president John “The Reconciler” Herron – is now completely on the outer.

PS The admin director dumped on the Queensland Libs, Brad Healey, had barely arrived at his new desk when he sacked the full time volunteer membership officer, who has done the job for three years on an unpaid basis. He seems to have created some more admin work for himself – going through all the letters complaining about his conduct.

Just good friends

The yeomanry of Indi choked on their Cornflakes Tuesday morning, for who was that pictured on the front page of the Wodonga Border Mail with their sweet, innocent Liberal candidate Sophie “Uptown Girl” Panopolous but that notorious cad and bounder Noel Crichton-Browne!

The Uptown Girl has been charming countryfolk since her preselection by asking sweetly girlish questions such as “which end of the cow do you milk?” while staring at stud bulls – but how will a photo of her being chauffeured by NCB hit her carefully cultivated image.

She tells the Border Mail that Nasty Noel is “just an acquaintance”. But when an innocent thing like Sophie falls into the arms of such a rotter, well – what will the neighbours think?

Things aren’t going that well for the Uptown Girl’s campaign. Labor can sniff an upset, and the local Libs are looking wistfully across the river where their candidate, Susan Ley, might just pull on an upset in Farrer, being vacated by Tim Fischer.

Rare sighting

Coffee drinkers on Adelaide’s Norward latte belt were in awe. There, last Saturday, on one of her rare visits to the state was South Australian Senator Satan. To make it even more of the thrill, the second half of Australia’s shortest celebrity couple, Huge Rimington, was along for the ride too.

Winners and losers

Toiler’s friend George Campbell made an effort last week to join Senate colleagues Stephen Conroy, John Faulkner and Robert Ray and win a free Crikey subscription by referring to this journal of record in the Chamber – but just missed.

In a speech on financial regulation on Thursday he said: “Minister Hockey’s handling of the HIH collapse is something akin to the crash of the Hindenburg. How many more disasters must we endure and have taxpayers fund so that Hindenburg Hockey can continue to deregulate the financial sector?”

Close, but no cigar. Hillary will have to repeat the rules again. Members and Senators need to directly refer to Crikey or this column in the Chambers or committees to get their free sub.

One person who knows the details is Frank Mossfield, the Labor member for the western Sydney seat of Greenway. Frank gave Crikey a very nice plug in a speech on Monday and reinforced our position as one of the nation’s leading opinion shapers by stating “I know many members have read crikey.com.au”.

He gets a free sub and t-shirt and, in return, we hope Frank adds a link to Crikey from his execrably designed website, www.nswalp.com/federal/frankmossfield/mossfield.htm.

Frank hasn’t made much of an impact from where Hillary sits in the advisers’ box, so Hillary looked up his official bio and was fascinated to discover that one of the key industries in Greenway is “smash repairs”. Those poor bloody Westies. They face a long commute to get anywhere near civilisation, so no wonder they’re always having prangs.

Grande Dame

No more will Hillary mock Sydney arts queen Leo Schofield. He is altogether a grander dame than Hillary ever thought – more like the beloved Barbara Cartland.

Hillary was moved to regurgitation by his tale in the Tele of the ill-starred love between Sydney Lord Mayor and bovver boy Frank Sartor and Hepzibah Tinter.

Not only was Barbara able to name drop in the article “when I heard her surname I immediately asked if she was any relation to Georg Tintner, an Austrian-born orchestral conductor whose elegant and idiomatic performances I had enjoyed here during the 1970s”, but he was also let loose to indulge in the purplest prose seen this side of a Jacqueline Sussan novel “I longed to meet her and when I did I found her not only as delightful as I had imagined but also strikingly beautiful, a subject for a pre-Raphaelite painter with milk white skin, coruscant black eyes and a torrent of curly black hair tumbling down almost to her waist”.

And the educational value, too. Not just “schadenfreude” any more. “Pre-Raphilites”. “Coruscant”. Coo! Them Smelly readers ain’t ‘arf gonna to be talkin’ posh soon.

Hillary’s mailbag

Quality versus quantity this week. A correspondent writes to point out that there are no actual requirements to be a member of homo sapiens to be elected to the United States Congress, and asks what the situation is here.

Hillary has a good knowledge of the Electoral Act – i.e. just how dodgy you can be and how far you can go white anting opponents – but doesn’t know what, if any, species specifics exist in Australia. Readers learned last year about the dog signed up to the Queensland Uni Liberal Club and, as a point of interest, the deputy leader of Britain’s Monster Raving Loony Party is a cat – but can anyone help with this important matter?

Just fancy that

Brisbane based AAP hack Paul Osborne is clearly a Crikey reader. Why? Well, after Hillary mentioned the UK site www.politicalcompass.org twice in two weeks, Osborne decided to fill in a slow Monday afternoon with a piece on the subject – which is being discussed nowhere else in the country. Onya, Paul!

Hillary can be contacted at [email protected]


And now, check out last week’s excellent column.

Split decision

The Electoral Affairs Committee report into electoral rorts gets handed down Monday – or rather, reports. It’s a dead cert that there will be the main report plus a dissenting report from the Labor members.

What will be interesting will be the comments of Democrat committee member Andrew “Street Fightin’ Man” Murray – given the Dems’ interest in keeping the bastards honest.

Quick and decisive action

Poor old Mad Monk Tony Abbott. He gives his old employers at the Oz a great front page lead with a ripped off version of Labor’s tax credits scheme and the Rodent rebuffs him within hours. Bet they were impressed to get such a story, too.

PS Thursday’s trauma didn’t stop the Monk from venturing into print with yet another piece on Friday with some unlikely comments on Noel Pearson. Is he undergoing a Michael Portillo experience? Such a shame that his receding hairline means he won’t be able to do the quiff.

Taking the fun out of politics

George “Washington” Brandis and the Queensland Liberal constitutional review committee have produced a work of genius with their anti-stacking proposals.

Under the new rules, people voting in preselections must live, work or study in the relevant electorate or an adjoining one, but, but, 05 Washington and Co have given branches the right to stack themselves. The new rules also say that, on a two thirds majority vote, they can admit outsiders.

That must come as a relief to many.

PS Several senior federal Libs are starting to ask if the Queensland party is serious about reform and recovering from their disastrous position, why the hell hasn’t Bob Tucker been re-endorsed to fight Ryan? If they want to win the seat back, it might help to have a candidate

Bad timing

Oh dear. A notorious – but supposedly reformed – womaniser and newly married former state minister was caught canoodling with a staffer at the Holy Grail on Tuesday by a photographer from the Daily Telegraph. The picture is said to have been stashed away for a rainy day.

If you don’t fight, you lose

Poor old Lex Loser is so scared of surrendering his seat of Mayo to the Democrats that he has been forced to make up ridiculous stories to sound important – like claiming he’ll become deputy leader of the Liberal Party.

The Dems are campaigning hard in Adelaide’s Hills area and have high hopes of winning Mayo, as well as beating Buffy’s boys in a couple of the state seats. The only problem is that they don’t have a candidate.

John Schumann almost got there last time round. He has a high profile and a strong claim for the candidacy – but since the fall of Mystic Meg the local Satanists have been making life hard for the battling balladeer.

If they lock him out, these tactical geniuses might just manage to save Lex’s career.

Bad timing

Liberals, Liberals, everywhere!

The Melbourne City Council poll is turning into yet another demonstration of the sorry schizophrenia plaguing the Victorian division of the Liberal Party.

Of course, party president Ian Carson was too terrified to run a formal Liberal ticket – but that hasn’t stopped Libs from popping up all over the place.

The early favourite for the top job is Peter McMullin. He’s a Labor man, but last time round he was endorsed by the Jeffmeister himself. As Hillary reported last week, former Kennett government staffer John Fetter is running his campaign – and another former staffer, Liberal Student activist and current policy assembly member, Dan Feldman, is standing as a councillor on the McMullin ticket.

The big name candidate for the mayoralty is Don Chipp – a one time federal Liberal minister – and he’s won the backing of Andrew Peacock, who is clearly nostalgic for the days of the first Fraser government. Hillary hears that his deputy, Rilka Warbanoff, was a head kicker for the moderates in the South Australian Party back in the eighties.

We then come to Liberal Hawthorn electorate committee chair and Ian Carson mate Clem Newton-Brown, who has patched together an odd ticket featuring a few fellow Libs plus a couple of Labor drop outs. Rumour has it that the Newton-Brown ticket approached Jeff for support – only to be greeted with a deafening silence.

Peter Sheppard’s ticket includes one ALP hack, Kevin Chamberlin, and a mixed bag of Libs nobody has ever heard of – or is likely to hear from again, with the exception of party member and former Liberal affiliated mayor of Stonnington City Council Adam Held, who shafted a couple of other tickets before finishing up here.

There’s the mysterious “Liberal 3000” ticket – supposedly a bunch of Libs who were originally going to run with Clem Newton-Brown until they discovered Peter Clarke – party VP and head of the David Davis fan club – would be running their campaign. This appears to have left Clarke feeling somewhat deflated – he got up at policy assembly last week and took a swipe at all the Liberals running with non-Liberals. Hillary wonders if this includes Clem.

The very Liberal Claude Ullin, another former Stonnington Mayor, has expressed an interest in the top job. Claude previously distinguished himself by revealing that he is Jeff’s cousin, bagged him publicly, then complained equally publicly that he was never invited round to dinner. With a record like that, he would be an ornament to the Town Hall.

Sadly, Claude’s nomination is in doubt because his planned running mate, serial Liberal preselection candidate and former Mayor of Hawthorn, Jane Nathan, dumped him in order to run with Jacki Turfrey and Jim Donnelley’s Rainbow Coalition (AKA Melbourne City United).

Last – but not least – there’s that other lapsed Lib and one time Kennett staffer, Stephen Mayne. Everyone knows he’s a complete fruitcake. (Ed: You can forget that pay rise pal.)

Long, lonely nights

How do backbenchers fill in those long, lonely nights when Parliament sits late? Well, Hillary overheard a group of them sitting round Aussies discussing the naughty version of Big Brother.

HIH victim?

Hillary keeps wondering how Gerard Henderson and the Sydney Institute – dull speakers and kosher nibblies afterwards – is going to be hit by Rodney Adler’s troubles.

Young Rod has been very generous in the past – indeed, the Institute’s program features an annual Larry Adler Memorial Lecture – but will he be able to keep it up?

Serial harassment

The Prime Miniature continues to stalk members of Crikey’s editor’s family.

Not content with home invading the Mayne Man’s grandmother in her Brisbane retirement village in April, he turned up last week in the town of Murgon, in Queensland – home of his cousin Justin Cooke.

Whatever next? The Crikey bunker is but a short walk from Treasury Place.


Are we missing some grand design of the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party?

Look at the signs – first there were small things, like Mark Textor taking over the polling. Now, we’re in the situation where former chief minister “Sharon” Stone is Liberal Party federal president.

The poor old Tassie Libs copped flak last week for charging $1499 a head for a business observers program for their forthcoming convention. One reason they need the cash is that the CLP is getting narky about a $50,000 loan they gave them back in 1998 to keep the Party afloat.

Today Darwin, tomorrow the world?

Being catty

Talking of the CLP, readers outside the Territory may not have seen this fascinating item.

The Northern Territory’s Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade postponed controlled burning within a Top End wilderness resort last week because Chief Minister Denis Burke’s family cat, Patch, had wandered off into the area.

The cat went missing at the weekend after it escaped while the family was visiting friends at Lake Bennett.

Patch has not appeared, and animal lovers will be saddened to learn that Burke told the ABC on Friday he didn’t “hold out much hope” for his return.

Hillary’s mailbag

Some good stuff this week – including some fascinating claims that Ah Satan has developed a very expensive habit. Hillary e-mailed the Dem’s secretariat on Friday about this one, but hasn’t received a reply, so take it as hearsay:

“We’ve all heard of Ah Satan’s ‘Dream team’ dinners at $25,000 a table of 10 and we’ve assumed the proceeds would go on helping her fellow basket weaving Senators get re-elected, but it is apparently for more vain purposes.

“Ah Satan has her heart set on $270,000 worth of focus groups on voter perceptions of her, 05

“Word is that she is sticking the pitchfork into her corporate fundraisers to get bums on the $2,500 seats as she is very keen to hear an academic type, such as a Roy Morgan researcher, say that she is intelligent, articulate and popular.”

Another correspondent was fascinated by the claims from that well known market tipster the Rodent that Telstra was “still a very good investment” – and seemed to recall Rob Jolly recommending that Victorians keep their money in Pyramid, too.

A bored solicitor is thankful for the Political Compass test – it kept him occupied for half an hour or so.

Finally, we have this interesting suggestion:

“Why don’t you get women to email you listing their Michael Photios chat ups and see who wins? For the number of times I’ve met him, I’m four for four. I can’t be alone.”

A fascinating idea – but Hillary might just run that one past the lawyers before anything goes into print.

Feeling smug

Crikey’s Yoursay recently carried a complaint about the “petty gossip and childish nicknames” in this column.

Still, dear, gentle reader, you got the tip about “Bruce Baby” Baird as a contender for the Liberal deputy leadership here a full week before Glenn “The Black Dwarf” Milne splashed it all over the Oz, didn’t you?

Hillary can be contacted at [email protected]