Hillary Bray is back with a vengeance for 2002 and has not come back from her Christmas celebration feeling any better about the Rodent, that’s for sure.

What does 2002 hold in politics? Well, there’s the question of the Budget to begin with. The Prime Miniature made Mal in 82 look like a model of restraint when he went into full porkbarrelling mode, chucking money at the oldies that will require political courage well beyond his measure to claw back. What does that plus all his other election measures and the additonal costs of the Hanson Solution to refugees and sending Our Boys off on Osama holiday add up to? Interesting.

Unless they find yet another loophole to stretch it out even further, the South Australian Libs and their new party premier, Kero the Karoake Kid, will be going to an election by May. Down in Tassie, Jim Bacon and whoever’s the Liberal Party leader that week will be squaring off, too probably sometime early in November.

Come the second of December, a whole lot of beardies, leftover sixties people, Dawkins university “academics” and stagflation enthusiasts will be marking the thirtieth anniversary of the election of the Wanker government. Yes. It is a depressing concept, isn’t it?

Still, there’s plenty of time to dig a shelter to hide from all the bloated bombast when they wheel out the great man himself at the end of the year. Hillary can’t wait to document how the pompous old git has continued to fight for socialism in the intervening years by turning up to the reopening of the King Street Louis Vuitton boutique, luvvie dos for the Sydney Theatre Company and so on.

Finally, we can expect Mal Colston to drop off the twig sometime or we hope so, for the sake of the Commonwealth DPP’s dignity. His doctors must frighten people with their doomsday diagnoses. Perhaps the Queensland Medical Board should investigate?

Ancient history

New Year’s Day is always a wonderful time for political hacks as the old cabinet papers get released and last Tuesday was no exception. Hillary’s generation usually only get a chance to laugh at Billy McMahon as a sight gag. The pix of him up on the wall at the Liberal fed sec with those ears, that wife and the little kid will grow up to marry Danni Minogue were always good for a giggle. Now we can see the innermost workings of his government and collapse in hysterics.

There are other fascinating bits ‘n’ pieces in the archives, too. The papers released last week showed once again what a good opposition leader E G Wanker was. Hillary presumes that next year, when the first documents from his premiership start to trickle out, we’ll be reminded again what a good opposition leader Wanker was.

Doug Anthony’s comments on loyalty and Malcolm Fraser at the release of the documents were a little strange, however. Surely it is self evident to most political observers that Big Mal has shown the Rodent all the loyalty he has shown him since, oh, 1982.

New model?

Talking about useless Liberal leaders from New South Wales naturally makes one think of Peter Collins and a new game Potts Point residents are now playing.

Peter hasn’t been left on his lonesome since his missus continued her ambition to become Australia’s answer to Pamela Harriman. The locals keep a keen eye out on Victoria Street to see just who he’ll be with.

There was a lot of speculation Friday that he had traded in his blonde real estate agent when he was seen breakfasting with a big-haired brunette. Any suspicions that this was a just mid-morning meeting were dispelled when her full outfit was revealed as a muttonesque outtake from a Britney Spears video after all, no serious businesswoman goes off conferencing in a very bare midriff top and a micro mini.

Then, however, he was seen back with the blonde on Saturday. The locals are wondering if he should be looking for alternate venues and asking why was she wearing evening shoes with casual wear.

Down at Delectica a consensus is emerging. Collins might go for classics when it comes to cars, but as for women

Little Libs crave Coz

Yup and the old right wing are mightily peed off. Hillary normally doesn’t bother to report on Young Lib matters and student politics but two spots on the grown up Libs national executive are at stake when the Young Libs vote for their federal president and VP each year at federal council.

On Sunday, they crossed traditional factional lines to put two Costello backers into the top two jobs Grant Muller, a Kroger acolyte from Melbourne sent to spread the good news in sunny Brisbane and Tony Chappel, a scion of the New South Wales moderates and Minter Ellison lawyer to boot.

The ticket combined a right and left winger. The troglodyte right book-burners from the West in the main are not impressed. The cause whore left aren’t that happy either, but as so few of them are left no-one gives a toss what they think.

The outcome reflects a growing mood in the parliamentary Liberal Party and the rank and file that people who a decade ago may have shed a tear for self indulgent old wets like Ian Macphee or Chris Puplick are happy to back Costello today because he represents a clear difference on a range of issues from reconciliation to a republic than a certain short man. The reactionary right are getting left behind.

PS The federal council was held up on Spring Street, but the little Libs have been holding the rest of their meetings down at the Victoria Hotel. If readers knew why Hillary always sighs with a wistful at the mention of the Victoria, they’d have a heart attack. (Ed – I know and have still have still not yet recovered.)

Summer holidays

Where are our political leaders at the moment? Hillary, as a keen environmentalist, loves to see quokkas and quolls frolicking in the great Australian outback, and has been desperately worried about the wildlife suffering in the Sydney blazes but did see that a Rodent had escaped the blaze.

Saint Steve turned up on the TV Saturday night in a wetsuit presumably trying to do a Peter Beattie and that other swimmer Satan was spotted in an Adelaide beauty parlour just before Christmas getting her nails done, but that’s been about that.

Where are the pols? Has the Courier Mail’s Michael Madigan seen Ross Cameron having breakfast anywhere else interesting or have Crikey readers spotted anyone?

Do let us know. Future generations may find a guide to the holiday habits of our MPs quite fascinating.

Priorities, priorities

Hillary has had a few things to say about Sydney Lord Mayor Frank Sartor in the past: his lust for lebensraum, the fact that unlike, say, the Pope or President of the US of A, he demands that if you want to see his media releases you have to be a bona-fide journalist and register to receive them rather than just looking at a website etc, etc but his New Year’s Eve fireworks comments really showed where his priorities lie.

Emperor Frank defended the decisions to go ahead with the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks despite the bushfires because its polling showed people supported them. Say what? Polling on that?

What does it cost to arrange a poll at short notice during the holiday break? Sydney’s own Spin City crew has have been happy to correspond with Crikey in the past, so we’d love to hear from them again. While they’re at it, they might like to tell us who did the polling surely not even the Emperor has his own polling unit the size of the sample, the full results and the margin of error.

So if you’ve just moved into a new city development like King Street Wharf, don’t be surprised if you get a phone call early one morning asking what tie if any his majesty should wear that day. And if you trip on the footpath hiking up to the CBD, you’ll know why it hasn’t been repaired.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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