Hillary’s final column for the year is a cracker with side-splitting material from as far a field as Norway and Italy, combined with great items on the Hawke pictures and various Labor and Liberal shenanigans.

Hawkie’s mates

ID’s are coming in on some of Hawkie’s drinking buddies. Crikey subscribers have had the detail and if you’re too cheap not to have subscribed, that’s your look out.

The first letter came from a po-faced publicist after the Mayne Man IDed the wrong person as Sotheby’s boss Justin Miller:

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Dear Hillary,

I am the publicist for Sotheby’s Australia. Only one person within the photo’s (sic) is associated with Sotheby’s, that is Mr. Justin Miller. He is in the grey suit. We are unaware of the identity of the gentleman with his tongue near Mr Hawke’s ear. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to call me on 0411 123 456.

Thank you

Benedict Pownall


Another reader sent in this interesting missive: “The girl being kissed by Hawkie in pictures 2 and 5 is none other than Ms Bronwyn Davies, although you can’t publish the name without getting your arse sued from here to Phillip Street. Perhaps she could be best described as “the former Sydney University identity and ‘good time girl’, now part-time actress, who was known to many around the residential Colleges in the early ‘Nineties – her pick up line was the classic: ‘Did you know that my name means white breasts?’ ”

Another letter went over territory readers of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spike (AKA I Can’t Believe It’s Not Stay In Touch) column will be familiar with: “The young bloke next to our distinguished former leader/drinker in the final photo (taking his shirt and jacket off) is Sean Keating (don’t know whether he’s a relative of ‘the drinking man’s treasurer or not). I went to high school with him, where he was certainly not considered the ‘sharpest tool in the shed’… probably fits right-in with the law firms and Sotheby’s set! I would assume that he’s the least notable/influential person in the photo (although admittedly, that group looks like it could put-up a bit of competition on that score!), so apologies about that.”

Keating, of course, is the genius who appears to have scanned the pix in and started their merry dance around cyberspace (presumably he never saw the “yours was yummy” e-mail or is really, really thick). Hillary votes him a capital fellow and is sure that all Crikey readers want to thank him for brining such delight to our festive season.

PS Yet another e-mail deserves a run: “Sorry, Hillary, I don’t have any ID’s for you but you did inspire a totally horrifying thought. If John Howard (like Bob) has also been restraining himself for all these years, what will happen when he finally blows, oops perhaps we should say “lets loose”? Are steps being taken to minimise the damage this man could do? For a start we could at least rescind his passport so that the problem is confined to Australia. Surely we have learned from Bob.”

The mind boggles at the thought of the Rodent on the rampage.

Gee, GG!

The witch burning community has been disenfranchised from everyday life for the best part of the last four centuries, but over recent years many of its members have found an outlet by behaving hysterically over paedophilia.

Tales about what the GG did when have been a great silly season filler, even though the only two people in the country who take the job seriously are the Prime Miniature and the Rev himself.

However, it was lovely to see a Crikey favourite fly to the defence of our Vice-Regal representative. Yes, David Flint in his Emeritus Professor hat just had to have his quid’s worth.

Mango madness

That well known summer malady Mango Madness once again has struck the Qld Libs.

After having his resolution to wind up Federal intervention in the Queensland Division resoundingly rejected by Federal Executive at it’s meeting on Dec 7th, Qld President John Herron gave his version of events on a hot summer night last Friday.

As the air conditioning struggled and the flying foxes circled he told the Qld State Executive how he had told Federal Executive that he would no longer chair the meetings of the Management and Reform Committee ( the vehicle for Federal intervention ) as the meetings were a waste of time and there would be no more meetings of that Committee while he remained as President.

A resolution from Vice Pres Matt Boland to terminate Federal intervention was discussed at length and then rejected by Herron on the grounds of not wanting to antagonise the Feds.

Herron then announced that in future the State Executive would make all the decisions re Party management and he (big bad John ) would suffer the consequences with the Feds.

Tough talk indeed -foolish one would think from someone desperate to assume the lofty role of a diplomatic posting before he commences the term to which he just been elected.

That’s what Mango Madness does to you!

Big Bad John also revealed that membership this year has declined from 6000 to 3200 – but there must be a mistake, so his taxpayer funded office will be used to ring all members to confirm their membership!

How about ringing those who left John?

Big Bad John is not fazed by this disastrous decline in membership – he remembers his previous term as President when membership dropped from 5000 to 800 – still plenty of time to beat that record.

Mango Madness – who said it doesn’t exist?

Rotten boroughs

An interesting yarn is doing the rounds of the Hunter claiming that Michael Costa has bought a house Cessnock with an eye on a move to the lower house. If this is so, it means he will be up for preslection against the fairly friendless Kerry Hickey.

Hickey has been involved in a long running battle with Fed Joel Fitzgibbon, who has been trying to get the state gig for a friend and secretary.

Some of Hickey’s comments on internal party matters of late have been strong even by Cessnock standards and it appears his current view of Costa is somewhat dim.

More tales of Nutty Knott

During Peter Nutty’s Knott’s short career as a parliamentarian, a waiting ComCar driver was stressed when a scruffy looking bloke carrying a surfboard tried to get into his car. He shouted “Piss off, mate! I’m waiting for the Member for Gilmore”, and tried to physically remove the interloper then realised who he was.

PS A reader points out that the greatest two party preferred swing away from Labor on November 10 was achieved yes, you guessed it, by Nutty himself. Get over him Labor.


News comes in of a sighting of the Mad Monk at a function of the Catenians, a semi-Masonic organisation formed for the advancement of professional Catholics in the days when all followers of the Church of Rome were believed to be drunken Fenian bums and not even allowed in the tradesman’s entrance at Government House.

Our source says the Catenians go in for the full sash and silly name business and are exclusive to “male Christians of sound financial standing” and seek to advance the position of its brothers.

Any pertinent information on these Mosman Micks would be gratefully received.

Labor pains I

Two great axe jobs have come in this week on the bruvvers in the ALP one for New South Wales and one for Victoria. Let ’em rip:

“We can expect to see much more of Julia Irwin in the new year. Irwin was one of the key people behind the rolling of McLeay and his candidates for the Shadow Ministry, walking away with the majority – yes, the majority – of the Right votes before the factional election, and directing them to ‘anyone but Hutchins’. That is why Hutchins got screwed so badly in the intra-factional fight. And while I am on the same subject, I have it on excellent authority that Hutchins is set for a very big chop, thanks to a number of Right unions in NSW who are sick and tired of the prissy little tyrant (Ed – c’mon, I’ve heard he’s a terrific chap). Even now the knives are being sharpened and Irwin is quite happy watering the wheel. Good riddance. This is the same chappy who imported TWU heavies from around Australia to man booths during the 1996 Lindsay by-election, which resulted in the bashing of a Liberal worker by a TWU hack at the St Clair booth. All in all, a bad year for Hutchins, considering that his man for Lindsay – former staffer and local Mayor David Bradbury – got flogged by Kelly, no doubt helped by those leaks of intelligence by disaffected local ALP members who did not want Bradbury imposed on them by Sussex Street. I also hear that the grand succession plan for McLeay to have his son parachute in from Ashfield Council to the seat of Watson is also looking pretty darn shaky, and that Leo is going to have to stick around longer than expected to shore up the numbers. Finally, I am astonished that nobody in the media has chosen to pursue the Member for Blaxland, Michael Hatton over the comments he made to his last Federal Electorate Council meeting, where he bagged refugees and members of various local ethnic and religious groupings. My source spoke to several media outlets about this outrageous attack – and nothing happened.”

Labor pains II

And in Melbourne:

“The Vic ALP’s Pledge faction (once known as the Tomato Left because of their amusing habit of tomato throwing at right wing State Conference Delegates) is showing distinct signs of merging with the Left with a deal brokered by Gavin Jennings, convenor of the Left and the motorcycling militant Frans (known affectionately as ‘Herr’) Timmerman, convenor of the Pledge.

“The deal is the talented and effervescent Jika Jika MLC Jenny Mikakos, one time try-hard tax lawyer (the hard left of the party these days is perfectly comfortable with tax minimisation – how far we’ve come), Herr Timmerman and MLC for Melbourne the uninspiring Glennys Romanes will all leave the Pledge and join the Left in return for Mikakos getting the next Left vacancy in the Ministry, populated as it is by equally talented and inspiring people.

“The Left is hopeful of picking up more of the once expelled Pledge faction members. They seem willing to give them almost anything they ask for, which makes you wonder why Left leader Senator Kim Carr didn’t do this in the first place. Carr has done more for the Right than any of the right wingers have.

“The state preselections have also been happily concluded with very few contests and all of the untalented hack sitting MPs being protected. New candidates in winnable seats are the Right’s Danielle Green in Yan Yean (made vacant by Police Minister Haermeyer’s chicken run to Kororoit), the Right’s Lisa Neville in Bellarine, the Left’s Rob Hudson in Bentleigh (after a media war with the angry pregnant women of the Right – Rachel Powning and Anna Burke), the Right’s James Mollino in Monbulk, the Left’s Lily D’Ambrosio in the very safe seat of Mill Park after a closer than expected contest, Tony Lupton from the Left in Prahran, John Erun from the Right in Geelong Province, Luke Donnellan in Narre Warren North from the Right, Jude Perera from the Left in Cranbourne, the Left’s Dale Wilson in Mordialloc, Alistair Harkness in Frankston and a few others I can’t remember from the boring and tragic and talentless misery of POSC the other night.

“Some good, some bad, no future Premiers probably among them. Thwaites who could succeed Bracks and do it with style may struggle to hang on to his seat of Albert Park, including some of the wealthiest areas in Melbourne. Brumby is yesterday’s man. Hulls is not subtle enough. We can only hope Bracks will not want to appoint any more of his ‘past friends’ to Government sinecures. Because without Bracks’ popular honest nice guy persona, the Cabinet would be very bare indeed.

“As our Liberal friends go into battle with the ‘Dad’s Army’, Bracks is going to spring an election on them as soon as possible (November).”

DISCLOSURE: Crikey is being sued by Labor senator Nick Bolkus for defamation at the moment but this has nothing to do this sudden burst of ALP material. But some of this stuff is interesting so keep it coming.

Guess who don’t sue

Which former Federal Labor minister was such a pants person they once got their driver to take them down to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and then told him to take a walk so he could make mischief with someone other than the wife/husband in the back seat.

Uptown down to work

Readers of the Euroa Gazette normally only get to read about the new roundabout in Strathbogie or the Violet Town debutante ball but this week they got a real treat. Four pages count ’em of liftout were devoted to the labours of their new MP, Uptown Girl Sophie Panopolous.

The puff-piece text was accompanied by some crackerjack photos the Uptown Girl in her Country Road outdoor wear timidly patting a bull (I think), the Uptown Girl looking on as a local “inventor and small business man” works away on some contraption, the Uptown Girl on a housing construction site waxing lyrical with a brickie about the first home buyer’s grant, the Uptown Girl out in the field planting shrubs and, the Uptown Girl with one of Indi’s finest doing God knows what to get his work for the dole money.

Wow! And she might even know by now which end of the bull is which.

Keeping ’em honest

Walter Bugno, Chairman of the Australian Associated Brewers, has announced that the lovable Sam Hudson, secretary of the Dems, party bag lady and chief of staff to Satan, will commence as executive director of the AAB at the beginning of February.

This would not be connected to the $100 million beer excise cut the Dems supported earlier this year, would it?

Farca Italia

Local political hacks such as Hillary always whinge about the lack of job security but what must it be like working for Italian governments. Alternate days in and out of power?

Whatever the case, they clearly don’t attract bright minds to the translation department, or so this item from the London Daily Telegraph suggests:

GARBLED translations of ministers’ biographies into English have caused the latest loss of face for Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian government.

The translations, which were posted on the government’s website, described Mr Berlusconi’s spokesman as a “megaphone”, one of his ministers as a graduate of the “University of Mouthfuls”, and a professor as a walnut.

The entries, apparently created by a computer program, were derided in a front-page article in La Republica on Saturday.

After the report, there was no trace of the English versions on the government’s website, www.governo.it. A statement said they were “experimental” and not for the public to read.

While the biography of Mr Berlusconi was in good English, another described Paolo Bonaiuti, his spokesman, or portavoce, as his “megaphone”.

Gianni Letta, the premier’s under-secretary, was described thus: “E be for many years Head of the Office Press of the National Federation of the Knights of the Job and subsequently Head of the Office Studies and Documentation of the Agency Palace of the Civilisation of the Job.”

The entry for Lucio Stanca, the minister for regional affairs, read: “Conjugated [meaning married] and it has two daughters. In 1965, one has graduated in Economy near the University Mouthfuls of Milan.” Mouthfuls is a literal translation of the slang word bocconi which, as Bocconi, is a university.

Rocco Buttiglione, the community policy minister, was described as having “graduated himself” under “the guide of Prof the Augusto of the Walnut”.

This was a literal translation of the name of Prof Augusto della Noce.

Policy option

Readers may recall that Hillary speculated just what David “Count Yorgu” Kemp might do in the Environment portfolio. Now an interesting idea has appeared in Norway.

New fisheries minister Svein Ludvigsen has told the Aftenposten newspaper that seal clubbing “could be a big hit and could be turned in to an exclusive coastal experience for foreign tourists. It’s important to reduce the seal population along our coastline to restore balance, and our tourist industry needs a boost. So why shouldn’t we offer the experience of a lifetime to foreigners who want to go clubbing in the fjords.”

Ludvigsen has explained “sea mammals are a bigger consumer of fish than we humans, and we’re shirking responsibility if we adopt the views of Brigitte Bardot. We sell hunting licences to tourists so they can shoot moose, so why not let them club baby seals too? It’s fun, and not nearly as messy as you might think.”

Hillary understands that Kemp plans to spend the break down at Phillip Island, practising on penguins.

Summer holiday

By the time you read this, Hillary will be well on the way to New York to celebrate Kwaanza with the Rev Al Sharpton. Happy Holidays (what do animists do at this time of year?) and see you in 2002. Or not.

Hillary can be contacted at hillarybray@crikey.com.au