One of our key Hillary contributors is flat out on the campaign for the Libs so this will be her last major weekly column with most material for the next 6 weeks going out direct to subscribers most days with the help of several other Hillary contributors.

This will be the last Hillary column until after the dust has settles on November 11 (perhaps even E G Wanker will be silent that day) as Hillary has shouldered arms and is manning the battlements of Liberal campaign headquarters.

Crikey plans to have extensive detail on marginal seats and a state by state break-down on electorates sent to subscribers during the next few days, followed by one on the candidates themselves, once nominations close – but it will be a premium product so you’ll have to hit this link https://subscribe.crikey.com.au/ to get the inside goods.

The Mayne Man intends to continue weekly political comment – but just remember that the real insiders material goes to subscribers only.

Peerless politico pundits

Where would mere mortals be without reporters like the ABC’s Catherine McGrath to keep them informed? In the lead up to the Rodent’s official announcement of the election date she breathlessly informed Hamish Robertson and News Radio listeners that the election “would be decided in the marginal seats”.

A new level of efficiency

If you need to know what’s happening and how it affects your business – and have an enormous amount of money to waste – then you can’t beat Rehame for media monitoring. A Crikey reader received this update – a full five hours after the Sphere of Influence had told Channel 9 viewers the Prime Miniature was about to head out to Yarralumla and almost two hours after the little fella’s presser. Rehame is said to have made a record profit last year but they retrenched a bunch of workers last week as clients start to wake up to their tactics to maximise revenue at their expense.

From: Rehame

Sent: Friday, 5 October 2001 16:05

To: CENSORED

Subject: Rehame News Flash – federal election called

SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA Sky News Australia 05/10/2001 02.15pm

Prime Minister John Howard has announced that a federal election will be held on Saturday November 10th.

Should you have any specific requirements during the campaign, please reply to this email or contact your account manager.

Kind regards,

Your Rehame account management team

Rehame – News You Need

www.rehame.com

Such service and efficiency can only be marvelled at.

Election timing

Timing is everything with elections – and conferences.

The PM has stated his determination to attend APEC – which is being held the same weekend as the Liberal Party is supposed to be losing the Australian Capital Territory election.

Powerbroker past it

Christ knows who the Fin Review Magazine had been talking to when they listed Ho Chi Minchin in it’s “Top 10 covert power brokers” list couple of weeks back. Ho’s power nowadays is so covert it exists only in his own mind. Hitman Heffernan replaced him long ago. Proof? Well, Hillary hears that unlike 1996 and 98, they’ll be no special seat for Nick on the PM’s campaign plane.

Hard on the job

First day of the campaign and where was News South Wales Labor state sec’try and Telstra shareholder Eric Roozendal? Shopping in Martin Place with his missus, of course, according to a Crikey operative.

The ever chivalrous Eric was carrying a Kookai bag, and they had wandered into a hobby store in the Mid-City Centre when our agent last saw them. Perhaps Eric has given up on Slim already and plans to spend the campaign playing with toy trains.

Synchronicity

Did anyone spot the photo in the Age on Saturday showing Daniela Scala of this year’s Bardot, the completely manufactured and superficial band, er, um, Manipul8ted – no, that’s not it, er, Scandal’us receiving a voting enrolment form from the manufactured and superficial politician Ah Satan.

How very appropriate.

Change politics

In a strategic stroke of pure genius, it is being claimed that Satan and her disciples have decided to have no official Democrat policy launches during the election, leaving it up to individual portfolio holders to decide if they (a) want to and (b) how to go about it. It is also being said that the three exceptions to this brilliant strategic move are the portfolios of Arts, Tourism and Reconciliation, all of which Satan has possessed. Interestingly, these portfolios are the responsibility of Aden Ridgeway who is said to be less than delighted at his Dream-Team partner’s appropriation of his responsibilities.

Senior Democrats have argued to the children that if the party is going to ask the voters for the balance of power again, then clear and defined policy positions are imperative – especially in economic matters. Some of Satan’s colleagues are incredulous that, having wrested the Treasury portfolio from Lees when she was elected leader, she has done nothing with it and does not even propose to have an economics-oriented launch. Having (at last) earned some economic credibility under Lees, Murray and the then adviser John Cherry, Satan is now flying about sprinkling fairy dust at the bottom of the garden.

The Democrat silence at the defection of ALP senator Shane Murphy is also very surprising. If the party does not get every senator back and an extra seat in Tasmania, current polling shows Shane Murphy’s defection could pass the effective balance of power in the next parliament to the unlikely alliance of Brown, Harradine, Murphy and Harris. Satan originally promised to work hard with every Senator up for election to get them back. Dissident Dems now say that apart from starring in Ridgeway’s portfolios, Satan is confining her campaign assistance to her Canberra flatmate, Andrew “Gary Numan” Bartlett.

It’s generally accepted that Schumann was the Democrats’ best shot at a lower house seat but his disinclination to be tempted by Satan was well known, despite his proffering other reasons for not running. It’s now clear from polling that they won’t win a lower house seat, despite Satan’s loud cries about Boothby in South Australia

Confronted by the reality of the election, many Democrats now feel that if Satan was able to show real leadership she would have put aside her paranoia about Schumann’s profile and encouraged him to run against Downer for the good of “her” party. In fact, she is widely reported to have promised a number of people to do precisely that. It is also believed that Schumann would have run if Mystic Meg was still leader but he has disappeared from the scene so it’s hard to tell.

Senior Democrats, particularly from their South Australian heartland, with a number of successful campaigns under their collective belts – even those who reluctantly thought Satan would deliver the party a better 2001 result than the Mystic one – are increasingly disturbed at the inexperience, naivety and arrogance of NSD’s campaign team.

There are already mutterings about drafting Lees to recontest the leadership if the Democrat result is poorer than expected.

More than just a pretty face

The Democrat’s squabbling continues and more e-mails have fallen off the back of their solar-powered campaign bicycle. To protect the innocent, we’d better just give you the gist – but they concern the Dem how to vote card.

To begin with, talk is that it will be in a street chic pink and black format. At the moment, Hillary understands that the card will feature photos – but that’s about it. No particular slogan, no info in community languages. Dem dissidents fear the proposed how to vote will just be a guide for the party faithful, not a sales tool. They are worried it will be meaningless for people who recognise Despoja’s dial but don’t have a clue about what her party stands for.

As one message that has ended up in Hillary’s hands says “without a sales message, we are just a pretty face”.

Grow up

Remember the stunts Satan used to pull when she was but a humble staffer – the “Men of Senate” calendar, for example.

Well, the girl can’t help it and old habits are obviously dying hard, as she has just recycled another one – the “Youth Survey”.

The survey is highly scientific – yoof ring a hotline and have a whinge. This year – like every other year – it has apparently found a high level of political alienation and abandonment.

Satan says the poll reconfirms the view that young people do not like politicians or political parties, and that only three per cent of the 1000 respondents trusted politicians.

Unsurprisingly, she goes on to say that young people want power, or at least a say in national affairs with 78 per cent wanting more young people in parliament.

Doesn’t she realise she’s the old fart politician the kiddies are whingeing about these days? Isn’t it time she handed it to a young hopeful and let them use it to position themselves the way she did.

Tassie turns turbulent

Tassie tree-hugging has just got that little bit more complicated with the resignation of the low profile Senator Shane Murphy from the ALP.

Murphy isn’t up for re-election this time – but Hillary hears there’s a big buzz down South about a high profile candidate ready to run as an independent who he has indicated he may support.

Murphy comes from that band of horny-handed sons of toil the CFMEU, affectionately known as the Come F**k Me Union. The “F” actually stands for forestry – and Murphy not only wants to preserve forestry jobs but create some more through downward processing.

Bob Brown has already heralded Murphy as soul brother, despite their very different thinking. He needs to. Murphy’s resignation could spark off a whole new forests debate.

The mystery independent will campaign on a save the forests agenda. Despite the hype, the small “g” green vote is only really strong in the Hobart electorate of Denison. Unless they severely split the Labor or Libera Senate vote (the Libs scored a pathetic 33 per cent last time) the person in trouble may well be Brown himself.

There’s already some suggestion that all of this is some CFMEU attempt to unseat Brown – and it seems certain that both major parties, let alone the Brown loathing Democrats would be happy to tip a few preferences to support this goal.

Hitting the nail on the head

Hillary has mixed views on Malcolm Fraser PM, but loves Malcolm Fraser, elder statesman.

It would be nice to think that one little line on boat people in a speech he gave in Brisbane last week would get wide coverage: “The government’s own figures demonstrate that over 85 per cent of people who come in those boats are in fact refugees.”

The comeback kid?

The self-proclaimed powerbroker Michael Photios and great campaign strategist Remo Nogorotto were seen enjoying the Sydney Labour Day holiday with a very conspicuous lunch in the salubrious surroundings of the Woolloomooloo Wharf.

Hillary hears that matters discussed included Nogorotto’s dream of knocking off one of Chikka’s great admirer, MLC Charlie Lynn. Photios isn’t thinking of a comeback, is he? What with a new missus looming and all?

Davis to step down

Hillary is fascinated by news that David Davis is throwing in the towel, and not standing for preselection again next year. Given Davis’ long string of recent losses this is an understandable reaction – he has had no patronage for his rag-tag army of stackers since the demise of Jeff Kennett. It is understood that he is returning to his chiropractic practice.

It is fortuitous that Davis has not claimed to be standing down so as to “spend more time with his family”. Nobody would buy that line – given that he refuses to even acknowledge the existence of his son.

With the departure of Birrell, this leaves two vacancies in the State upper house seat of East Yarra. There are more than enough hopefuls to fill the two positions, and Hillary looks forward to a spirited preselection battle to report on.

Potential candidates at this stage seem to include Jennifer Jarmon, Helen Kroger, Cameron Boardman, Kelly O’Dwyer, Sally-Ann Venerbles (a.k.a. Silly-Inane Vegetable), Dr. Kevin Donnelly and Mary Wooldridge.

It is not known whether Davis will try one last roll of the dice by attempting to choose his replacement. If he does, it is widely expected that he will back Hawthorn Electorate Council Chairman Clem Newton-Brown, a bitter enemy of the Kroger-Costello forces in Victoria. This would also Clem’s first roll of the dice after the former deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne finished 4th in his recent tilt at Lord Mayor with an 11 per cent primary vote against Peter McMullan, Peter Sheppard and John So who all polled around 14 per cent. After talking preferences with everyone, Clem ended up doing a deal with none of the majors but his prefs were vital in getting pro-business candidate John So into the Mayoral robes. Hillary reckons Clem would struggle in a lower house seat, and piggy-backing off the hard work of a lower house team (whilst attempting to keep himself out of the press) in East Yarra might be his best move.

Blast from the past

A ghostly spectre has been haunting the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party. Lynton Crosby has been at pains to explain how he received a phone call from Jeff Kennett in the lead up to the Casey preselection, where Kennett demanded that there be Federal intervention on behalf of Louise Staley to stop the branch preselection. He went on to explain how “destructive” Tony Smith is. It is understood that Crosby made it quite clear that if the branches, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the surrounding Federal Members and the bulk of the admin committee preferred Tony Smith, Federal intervention on behalf of Louise Staley was not on.

By demonstrating that he is one of the last fully paid up members of Friends of Our Louise Staley (F.O.O.L.S.), Kennett has also shown that he is still a complete loose cannon in the lead-up to the federal election.

There are fears about how Jeff’s determination to be involved in any way will play in Victoria’s RARA land. Even former allies in inner-urban seats realise that associating the Federal Campaign with Kennett will be the kiss-of-death for the Liberal vote in rural and regional Victoria, and could well cost the Coalition victory on the 10th of October.

Even the rank and file aren’t that keen. Membership of the Victorian Liberal Party dropped by more than 30 per cent during Kennett’s term as Premier – not surprising since he has always done everything in his power to disenfranchise branches in preselections.

Strange behaviour

Young Victorian narcissist and MP Cameron Boardman was in the meeja last week enumerating the ills that have beset Victoria since the election of the Bracks Government – such as the increase in assaults.

A record?

Former Blair right hand man Peter Mandelson has achieved it – but the experts are now checking the books to see if disgraced former South Australian deputy premier Graham “Bingo” Ingerson has set an Australian record.

Bingo was forced to resign as Deputy Premier in 1999 and then had to stand down as South Australian cabinet secretary last week after a damning Auditor General’s report. One person forced to resign twice during the life of one Government? It’s a noteworthy achievement.

Journalism awards

Congratulations to Glenn “The Black Dwarf” Milne for producing his first Alan Ramsey column last Monday – one the consisted almost entirely of quotes from third party work. So much easier than writing.

Hot in the city

Hillary tries to avoid reporting the doings of Young Liberals and their equivalents unless it influences preselections or similar – but was intrigued to hear how a would be Queensland powerbroker and sometime federal staffer was so overcome by heat that she took off all her clothes before boarding a taxi to head home after a long night out.

So what do you actually do for a living?

It’s fascinating to look at the CVs for some of the Green candidates hoping for a Senate spot. In most cases, one is hard pressed to see just exactly what they do for gainful employment, as our Victorian ancestors would have put it.

Kerry Nettle, who tops the ticket in New South Wales, is “an environmental and social justice activist. She was a media spokesperson for the Jabiluka uranium mine blockade. She has worked as a youth worker in Western Sydney and is currently working with Justice Action on prisoners’ rights. She has recently returned from East Timor where she taught English to Timorese women. Kerry is a sustainable transport activist involved in campaigns concerning the M2 tollway, lightrail issues, the Eastern Distributor, Critical Mass and Reclaim the Streets.” She also looks very middle class and lives in that well known centre of bohemia, Lane Cove.

Number two John Kaye seems to have a job – although it’s hard to find it amongst all the other detail. “For many years he has campaigned against the destruction of the urban environment by greedy developers and motorway builders. He has also been active in the movement to obtain fairer funding for public education and to end the wasteful and inequitable government funding of wealthy private schools. He is also a strong supporter of drug law reform and the rights of welfare recipients and asylum seekers. John believes that extensive government involvement in the economy, a strong public sector and a vibrant union movement are the only way to protect the rights of the community against corporate avarice.” However, he is a university lecturer “with 20 years of experience in opposing the construction of new coal-fired power stations” and “proud to be a member of the National Tertiary Education Union”.

Jan Davis, the Greens’ number three sounds like a veteran old Trot. She is “an active political and community campaigner who has gained experience as a spokesperson in all areas of public presentation, from the Vietnam Moratorium movement and Women’s Liberation era to present environmental and community justice issues”.

All of this contrasts radically with Greens WA candidate Rachel Siewert, who is treating candidacy just like a job application:

“I want environmental, social and economic change. That is, a truly sustainable future. I am deeply and passionately committed to this goal and have the energy and will to help shape a strong new agenda.

“I am 39, with a BSc (Agriculture) degree. Many useful abilities that I can bring the Senate position include:

analysing and handling complex issues quickly;

managing an enormous workload;

extensive experience in negotiating with all political parties and other sectors at all levels;

working to tight deadlines and under pressure;

managing an organisation;

working in a team;

managing extensive and demanding travel;

writing submissions and reports, etc.;

strong advocacy skills;

networking, liaising with and supporting members, member groups and the broader community;

public speaking and presentations;

effectively initiating and responding to all media;

developing and running pro-active campaigns;

planning strategically;

maintaining integrity and trust.

“All these abilities have contributed to my efficiency and effectiveness in working with the Conservation Council of WA.

“Before joining the Council I lived and worked in rural WA. My years of work with the Council have helped strengthen my networks and given me a strong profile and respect in rural WA.

“I represent a wide range of issues at the highest levels of Government and am on a number of national committees. After 14 years in and out of Canberra and Parliament House, dealing with ministers and politicians, their advisers, national community and environment groups, bureaucrats and industry, and helping lead many national campaigns, I am well respected by all these sectors and have an excellent record in dealings with those who aren’t natural allies. Two years as President of the Australian Committee for IUCN gave me unique negotiating experience with national and international governments and agencies, and strengthened my advocacy skills.

“We need someone who can withstand extreme pressure, an ability I’ve demonstrated consistently, having gone toe-to-toe with many, such as Wilson Tuckey, when they have attacked me publicly, professionally and personally.

“We need a Senate candidate with the public profile to win the Senate spot, who can hit the ground running on a wide range of issues and with the dedication, understanding and capacity to be effective. I want to make a difference and help the Greens (WA) make a difference in the way this country operates, in the way we treat our environment, our community and each other. I firmly believe I can do that.”

If she doesn’t get elected, she has a great future preparing resumes.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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