It says a lot about the political culture in Australia that it almost seems the story we’ve had the most political impact with is that Big Brother’s Katrina is a Young Liberal. Check out what we wrote and how others have reacted.

Hillary Bray column, April 17

Teenage Toecutter Chris Pyne spoke at the Henderson Family Polytechnic – formerly the Sydney Institute – on Monday night on how politics can be made more relevant to young people. He need have looked no further than the Victorian Young Liberals – for Big Brother Contestant Katrina is a member of the Brighton branch.

Yes, the Victorian Young Libs are plugged right in. There’s even a photo of Katrina on their website at last year’s ball (the one so enlivened by Cameron Boardman) and here it is.

Katrina’s in the second photo from the top, on the left, along with Rebecca Gauci – the “friend” who was on Big Brother when the housemates went in.

Hillary also hears a few other stories about people featured on the page – and would you believe it, the Victorian Young Libs have got their pop-culture references covered here too. There apparently could be some brilliant tie-ins to Temptation Island and Sex and the City.

Sealed Section, 19 April & Hillary Bray column, April 22

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?

BIG BROTHER – WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN…

Sealed section April 24

When Crikey first revealed that Big Brother’s Katrina was a Victorian Young Liberal a fortnight or so again, Hillary praised the tiny Tories for their work in finding innovative new ways “politics can be made more relevant to young people”.

Now, the news that Katrina has appeared in The Picture magazine’s 100% Home Girls special – see here – that charming Packer family publication targeted at lonely blokes (and will be back for an encore performance), Hillary can only stop and think about what might have been.

Imagine if the pix were around for the 1999 Victorian state election at the Libs “Jeff f*cken rules” campaign. They would have been right in sync with the rest of the ads. Exhibition Street would have snapped them up – and kit-off Katrina could have become a winning weapon bringing the Jeff message to a crucial demographic the Libs had previously missed.

KATRINA SPLITS THE ALP

Billy Hughes, Joe Lyons, Santa – and now Katrina. Yep. Our favourite topless Tory is now splitting the ALP. Just look at these two contradictory e-mails that have come Hillary’s way:

“Most people would have heard by now that the annoying Katrina from Big Brother is in fact a member of the Young Liberal Party.

“This being the case it is time for a good old fashioned “Kick the Young Lib off Big Brother” grass roots campaign.

“The Young Libs across Australia are apparently launching a campaign to save Katrina so lots of phone calls are needed to ensure that Katrina does not become the next Sarah Marie, (imagine her being congratulated by John Howard at some Young Lib convention.)

“The Big Brother website claims that “she has become infamous for talking to herself,” and that she is “annoying all her house mates with her tantrums.” This of course goes to prove what all members of young Labor have known all along – nobody likes a Young Lib.

“If members of Young Labor are looking for a candidate to support, I suggest you throw your support behind Shannon. She is the daughter of Michael Cleary, a former Labor Minister in the Wran Government.

“To vote off Katrina call 1902 555 010.

“Cheers, Chris Minns

“President, NSW Young Labor.”

SOME ALP HEAVIES WANT TO SAVE KATRINA

“A Message from the ALP “Save Katrina” Steering Committee

“The Sydney Morning Herald and Crikey.com.au have reported that the Young Liberals have launched a campaign to keep Big Brother housemate Katrina in the Big Brother house.

“Katrina, a long time Young Liberal member, has already spoken about her aspirations to political life after Big Brother. As Katrina is the face of the Liberal Party of the future, it is important that as many young Australians as possible have an opportunity to have a good look at her. Given the chance, she may turn out to be the new Bronwyn Bishop or Kerry Chikarovski, and it would be a tragedy for Labor if such a career were to be nipped in the bud by an early eviction from the House.

“For this reason, Labor supporters have formed an ALP “Save Katrina” Steering Committee to support the campaign of the Tiny Tories to keep Katrina in the house as long as possible.

“Unfortunately, Katrina is up for eviction again this week! Once again she topped the tally with 9 votes from her housemates who, not surprisingly, collectively find her views highly annoying and her manner abrasive. Not to mention the frequent references to her IQ being 5 points higher than that of her boss.

“Save Katrina! Keep her in the House where we can continue to follow her regular teary tantrums and her desperate pleas to fellow housemates that she has been misunderstood. Vote Alex out of the house instead.”

HILLARY: So where does Labor stand? Do they want Katrina in the house or our? Hillary waits with bated breath for Simon Crean to have the final word on the matter.

EVICTED DAMIAN HAD A LIBERAL CONNECTION

A Liberal-connected Queensland subscriber writes:

“Crikey, The first evictee Damian is actually the cousin of a Federal Minister’s CoS. The CoS was also a Councillor in south east QLD for 6 years and the Minister in question is one Ian McFarlane.”

Anon

FAMILY VALUES

Sealed Section April 26

Stephen “Showboat” Ciobo, the youngest Federal Lib and Member for Moncrieff – home of the Big Brother house – has shown the stuff of which he is made by his spirited defence of Young Lib housemate, “Kit-off” Katrina.

“I’ve got to confess I haven’t had an opportunity to catch an episode of the show,” Showboat told AAP, “but I would be supportive of any Young Liberal in their endeavours to spread the message of small government, individual responsibility and the importance of the family.”

His colleagues in the Lyons Forum and those with similar conservative leanings will no doubt be fascinated to hear how Katrina has strengthened family values by getting her gear off in The Picture – in both her solo, er, spread and a second pictorial where she and a somewhat older gentleman demonstrated the correct use of a contraceptive.

How this has been reported elsewhere

BIG BROTHER WEBSITE

Hi Stephen.

The world just gets weirder.

Now you are being referenced on the Big Brother web site as per the following.

“A cat is often said to have nine lives. And our Kat in the BB house has had quite a few herself. It seems the girl with the angelic face and teary eyes has experienced more at 21 than most of us ever will.

Two years ago, Kat got her kit off for a magazine photo shoot when she hit hard financial times. She said she was desperate and didn’t want to do anything illegal, so she chose to pose in the buff.

She confessed to Big Brother before entering the house that this was a secret from her past but, as yet, she has not told her fellow housemates. She has alluded to having “done things that would shock you” but has not elaborated, for fear of “hurting people on the outside”. But now the secret’s out. Picture magazine plans to reproduce the photos in a future edition.

The pictures have already had wide circulation on the web, which she thought might happen when she went in to the house. In preparation, she made a video response to the public. She says: “It’s just a body, get over it”.

The shock revelation has not affected her popularity. If anything, the Kat Club is growing. Her fellow Young Liberals are rallying behind her. Emails have been leaping from laptop to laptop, urging supporters to keep her in the house by voting out the other nominees. According to the media news service Crikey.com, the “Save Katrina” campaign email reads: “The collective voices of the NSW YL’s can make a difference. This is the ultimate save a Young Liberal from social Siberia.”

However, despite the rousing support for the colourful Kat from the Libs, it’s been reported on News.com.au that the Young Labour Party’s members are now voting Kat out in retaliation.

Love her or hate her, Kat has tongues wagging everywhere.”

No credit in MX

A subscriber wrote:

Mate,

Don’t know if you get the chance to read the wrapping material otherwise knows as the Mx, but…

On the Tuesday, they quoted info about how the Young Libs (those scallywags!) are going to mount a ‘save Kat’ campaign. Can’t remember which page (it isn’t like I keep the paper), but the did not acknowledge the source – Crikey.

And today (Wednesday), they did the same thing – used info from your site, and didn’t acknowledge you either.

However, you’ll be glad to know that the Big Brother website did mention you.

But, I suppose that because MX is a Murdoch rag, does the Herald-Sun editor’s edict against you apply?

Scott

DISCUSSED ON INSIDERS

Crikey did an interview with Mike Jeffreys on Canberra station 2cc about this the Save Katrina campaign last week and also discussed it during our regular spot on the ABC Melbourne Drive program.

But we were most amused to hear it discussed by the panel on the Sunday Morning ABC Television politics program Insiders and host Barry Cassidy did the right thing and sourced it to Crikey.

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH BAGS KATRINA

The Sunday Telegraph launched a stinging attack on Katrina and the program in a page 9 do up headlined “Another reason not to watch Big Brother: The most interesting resident was evicted”.

The fourth paragraph simply said: “The frequently crying Katrina, 21, has been exposed outside the house as a nude model and Young Liberal.”

But this Kathy McCabe report was more notable for it being a stinging attack on the program suggesting it might not even survive its 12-week run. This is consistent with attacks that Murdoch’s Herald Sun have been running which appear to be just part of a corporate play because News Ltd and Ten failed to come to a marketing agreement this time.

I might be stretching the conspiracy but is this the News Ltd backlash against Ten after chairman Nick Falloon came out and publicly opposed the Foxtel-Optus Vision merger.

THE AGE GETS IN ON THE ACT

Jonathon Green ran this in his column on April 25 without any credit to Crikey.

The NSW ALP has its priorities set somewhat higher, with two party-instigated e-mail campaigns in full swing, both attempting to manipulate the result of the next Big Brother eviction. For it seems that not only is house-mate Katrina Miani, left, a veteran of a Picture magazine 100 per cent Home Girls spread (he said, choosing his words with care), but she is a also a long-term Young Liberal. Her fellow travellers hit the web last week, and may have had an impact on the vote that kept her in the house after Monday (sic, was Sunday) night’s first eviction of the hapless Damian. The ALP campaign is split, of course, with one e-mail urging the faithful to vote for Katrina as the next evictee and the other hoping to keep her on the show as a salutary example to the youth of Australia of junionr conservatism in action, a sort of ghost of Bronwyn Bishop Future.

Peter Fray

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