From Young Libs on Big Brother to key Democrat resignations, Crikey’s biggest asset Hillary Bray covers the length and breadth of politics as usual this week.

Jesus! How to wrap up such a boring week. Did you see Saturday’s Herald? Alan Ramsey, the Lounge Bar Bore of the Gallery, was reduced to describing the indignities suffered by National Gallery boss Brian Kennedy at Estimates “Tis that so, Senator Schacht, yer honour? To be sure, not even the Houly Father, blessed Saint Patrick and all the saints and angels could fix the air conditioning”

That afternoon, things got so desperate that the ABC felt obliged to pay attention to this pathetic lot:

“Several dozen protesters have voiced their dissatisfaction at the Federal Government’s policies outside the Prime Ministers official Sydney residence, Kirribilli House.

“One of the organisers, David Golan, from the Northside No War group says even in the Liberal heartland, people want the government to go.

” ‘I think that we’re showing here today that ordinary middle class Australians, living in the heart of Howard territory are opposed to his views,’ he said.”

Indeed. The Cremorne Comms, Balmoral Bolsheviks and Turramurra Trots, for starters. And in case you don’t believe the Nor Shore is a hotbed of revolutionaries, just think about this St Ives is almost an anagram of “Soviets”. Scary, hey?

Chemical warfare

The anthrax scare in Peter Costello’s Canberra office provided some excitement in an otherwise boring week and has got more than a few people talking about the competence of Parliament House security staff. Not only did the package get through, but such key offices as those of the Opposition and the Dems weren’t alerted until six hours later.

The source of the package has got a lot of super sleuths interested, too. North Sydney an interesting halfway point. Just up the hill from Kirribilli House, just down the Pacific Highway from the Bennelong electorate office. Hmmm.

Local hero

Last month, Hillary placed this item in a Crikey sealed section:

“All is not well in the seat of Melbourne Ports, with the election of one Adrian Jackson as a delegate to the important Liberal Party decision making body, the policy assembly. Jackson has been criticised in the Jewish media over comments on Ariel Sharon an issue that the local Libs should know is sensitive, given the areas demographics.

“Amazingly, there’s talk that he was backed by the state Member for Caulfield, Helen Shardey. It will be interesting to see what Helen and her supporters say when the Jewish media ask if the story’s kosher.”

Well, the Australian Jewish News has got onto the story all right and Michael Danby, the Labor Member for Melbourne Ports, a former editor of the Australia-Israel Review, is twisting the knife. Just look at these clips:

The matter hotted up last week when the following letter started doing the rounds:

“Friday, 5 April 2002

“Dear Fellow Liberal,

“I have always put the interests of the Liberal Party first. Although I was originally a supporter of Mr Anton Herman I have worked hard for Mrs Helen Shardey. As our member she has always enjoyed my complete loyalty.

“On the 19th of February, Mrs Shardey called me to ask me to vote for a number of people at the Melbourne Ports AGM. One of the people she wanted me to vote for was Mr Adrian Jackson for the position of Male Policy Assembly Delegate.

“On the 20th of February I was emailed the how-to-vote by Ms Fiona Snedden. Later that night, just before the AGM, I was taken aside by Ms Noela Steward and Mr Matthew Zablud (Mrs Shardey’s former staffer) and given another copy of the how-to-vote.

“As a loyal supporter of Mrs Shardey I followed her how-to-vote and got Mr Jackson elected.

“I now discover that Mr Adrian Jackson is openly anti-Semitic.

“Mr Jackson has a long history of writing anti-Israel and other extremist propaganda to major newspapers. He has also been charged and convicted of assault.

“Worse yet, I am told that last year all Liberal MPs in the area were given photocopies of his letters to the editor by a concerned member of the community.

“Mrs Shardey is not an anti-Semite. But, she has betrayed many of us by knowingly supporting an anti-Semite to represent us in the Liberal Party.

“As a result, the Liberal Party that many of us have worked so hard for, has been badly damaged in the Jewish News over the past three weeks. It will take a very long time to undo the damage this has caused us in the local Jewish community.

“The Liberal Party Headquarters told me on the telephone that, “There is nothing we can do.”

“A senior member of the Jewish Community has given me copies of Mr Jackson’s past letters. I have attached them for your information.

“There is only one course of action left to us as grass-roots Liberal party members. We must remove Mr Jackson from his position as a matter of urgency.

“A Party Member.”

Accusation and counter accusation. This one is going to run and run.

All’s well whose end’s well

The PM’s popular press sec, Tony O’Dreary, is no doubt in the thoughts and prayers of Crikey readers over surgery on his, er, posterior portions.

However, Hillary hopes that the surgeons get the right spot. After all, O’Dreary is a complete arsehole. (And he’s not even that good – ed)

Popularity?

The Channel 10 Canberra bureau was buzzing after last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, featuring dumped Dem leaderene Mystic Meg. Hillary hears that it achieved the highest ratings for the year so far and that Bonge is particularly pleased with all the positive feedback it generated.

The Democrat attrition rate continued to climb during the week with the resignation of Matthew Baird as national president. Coming not long after his predecessor, John McLaren quit, it reminds Hillary of a certain quote about misfortune and carelessness.

Hey, big spender

Who says Rupert Murdoch is all bad? Rupe lets the poor starving students at Adelaide Uni buy his local rag, the Advertiser, for half price at the campus Unibooks store and a Crikey spy claims that Social Security Minister Amanda “The Incredible Bulk” Vanstone regularly takes advantage of the offer.

Preselection business as usual

Preselection fun and games continue in the Victorian Liberal Party this time centring on the new seat of Gembrook. Talk is that the state executive will reopen the nominations for just long enough to spook poor old Rob McLellan.

Little Libs Big Brother bonkers

By now you’ve probably all cottoned on to the fact that the first evictee from the Big Brother house was Damian when most independent observers thought Brighton Young Liberal Katrina was sure to get the flick first. But one thing’s for sure, over the last week, the news that BB housemate Katrina is a Young Liberal has sent the tiny Tories crazy.

This is how the BB website describes our heroine:

“She’s not as loud as Shannon, nor as limelight-loving as Damian. But, although she’s quiet, Katrina’s not afraid to share her opinions – something which seems to have put off the other housemates. On the first night, she told Sahra that none of the guys in the house were her type. By day two, she was telling Marty that the rat cage should be covered in a particular way. In neither case did the recipients of her opinion seem particularly impressed. At least one of the housemates remarked that Katrina can be condescending. On one occasion, she told the housemates that if she ever met herself, she would think that she was amazing. On several occasions, she pointed out that she has an IQ five points higher than her boss.”

With a profile like that, who would have ever guessed that she’s a Young Liberal, let alone from Brighton.

It doesn’t seem as if Kat’s been a winner with audiences, either. The forums have also been rife with anti-Kat comments: she is described as “whiny”, “selfish” and “spoilt”.

With reviews like that, eviction is looming for Katrina so the Young Libs are fighting back. This e-mail from bright Young Lib staffer Belinda Lawton came out of Macquarie Street last Thursday:

“Subject: Attention all you groovy YL fun seekers

“We cannot let Katrina, the only YL ever to make the starry heights of Big Brother, suffer the humiliation of being the next Andy voted out of the house by viewers around the nation in the first eviction!

“Thankfully, the collective voices of the NSW YLs can make a difference. This is the ultimate save a Young Liberal from social Siberia. All you need to do is follow the instructions below.

“Love your work,

“Belinda”

“We Victorians in the YL movement (although I still consider myself still half NSW YL) are in need of a bit of help at the moment to keep one of our own – Katrina in the BB house. The Save Katrina interest group is asking for the help of the NSW YLs in keeping Katrina in the house by placing votes to evict Turkan by phoning 1902 555 011. Please forward this on to anyone else you may think will help in our quest.

“Many Thanks, “Joe”

Vital electorate work, hey Belinda?

Reform work

The Queensland Liberal Party has written to all rank and file members calling for submissions to the constitution reform committee so there were a few raised eyebrows when “Chairman” Mal Brough, Minister for Employment Services, did exactly the same.

Brough says he paid for the mail-out from his campaign funds and is being widely applauded for the gesture. It’s not often that a marginal MP blows their war chest just to please their factional masters.

Witch hunters burnt

Oh dear! Prominent New South Wales Young Libs right wingers Alex Hawke and David Miles are most upset that Hillary published details of the suppressed policy motion condemning Hitman Heffernan’s Michael Kirby mishaps.

They shouldn’t be surprised that it popped up. Hillary hears that they recognised its potential for controversy themselves and that they were supposedly the one who asked state director Scott Morrison to remove it from the policy conference agenda.

All Dutch to them

Hillary presumes few Crikey readers follow Dutch politics, so it may come as news to them that the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Wim Kok, and his ministry resigned last week after a damaging report on the 1995 fall of Srebrenica.

The report harshly criticised the government for sending Dutch soldiers into a danger zone “without a proper mandate”.

There’s a good chance a certain Senate inquiry will soon find that the Australian navy was forced to operate under similar circumstances. Bet we see a very different response from the Rodent, the Cadaver and Co.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

SPECIAL FREE SUBSCRIPTION OFFER FOR STUDENTS

Crikey has a special free subscription offer until 5pm on Friday, May 3, for anyone with a .edu.au email address. We’ve long neglected the university crowd and therefore provide this window for hard-up students to sign up for a free 12-month subscription. However, don’t expect a free tee-shirt. To join the Crikey army just go to our online subscription page here and fill in the necessary details with 0000 in the credit card number field. When Crikey’s old man sees the .edu.au email address he’ll wave it through. No correspondence will be entered into as this could be an administrative nightmare which we don’t want. If you’re a student without a .edu.au email address that’s too bad.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW