The ongoing Dems dust-up, Michael “Khemlani” Johnson’s strange fundraisers, Liberal preselection battles and Slimey Simey’s tussle with the unions all get a go in Hillary Bray’s weekly Crikey spray.

As Britney learns that you shouldn’t give ultimatums unless you can enforce them and the Andrew Murray saga drags on and on, her fans are rioting in the streets.

Piles of pap continue reach Crikey from the ADnet discussion board as Britney fans seek to outdo themselves posting petitions demanding spills, expulsions, return of seats and all sorts of disciplinary measures for the errant Senator with a copy sent to their heroine, just so she can see how keen they are. The thread goes something like this:

Dem 1:I think Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 2:I think Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling by his fingers and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 3:I think Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling by his little fingers and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 1: I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 2: I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down by his toes and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 3:I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down by his little toes and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 1: I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down in a dungeon and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 2:I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down in a dungeon that’s very dark and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

Dem 3: I meant that Andrew Murray should be strung up from the ceiling upside down in a dungeon that’s very dark and full of bats and move that a petition of members be established accordingly. cc Britney

And so it goes on the same self important handful of obsessives continuing with this garbage for page after page, day after day. If Britney’s new best friend, Glenn “The Black Dwarf” Milne had to read this stuff, he would have never mentioned David Harcourt-Norton’s name and encouraged him.

That, however, isn’t all. Mail like this has also been coming Crikey’s way:

“There is a lot of anger concerning Eachway Ridgeway. Apparently he is often prancing about with the Bungarra Dance company and other parts of the Aboriginal aristocracy but he is never seen visiting the humpies in the outback where his coloured brethren are in despicably miserable condition. Trouble is try raising it as an issue and its deliberately taken as a racist attack.

“The facts are that Meg Lees shows more interest in the aborigines than he does. In fact she was visiting a settlement in the NT last week while she was supposedly camping away from it all.”

Gosh! Worse than Mystic Meg. That must mean very, very bad as far as the Britney hardcore are concerned at the moment. But there’s more:

“Look very carefully into Andrew Murray’s business past. Not all is above board. Also a few years ago he got involved in a scuffle with a couple walking their dogs. He was acquitted with assault. But was all the info present at court? Were there some witnesses that didn’t testify?”

M’learned friends might like to know that we are not suggesting that these are anything other than unfounded allegations but for a bunch of peaceniks, the Dems sure fight dirty.

Pity poor punters

Meanwhile, what is the average Joe supposed to make of the Democrats’ struggles? It appears that matters of facial hair have left them thoroughly confused.

The difference between the current shots and the archive footage of Andrews Murray and Bartlett that the teevs insist on using is to blame here, so Crikey is proud to present this guide to who’s who in the Democrats: it was Andrew Murray who got rid of his ‘tache then went to get rid of Tash.

The debate spills over

A few weeks ago, Crikey commented on the spooky similarities between Britney Spears and Natasha Stott Despoja both young blonde stars with their careers in crisis. Now, our remarks have come to the attention of Britney’s Australian people, with this message arriving last Thursday:

“I am writing to object to the continual references to Senator Natasha Stott Despoja as ‘Britney’ or ‘Stalin Spears’. As a representative of Britney Spears in Australia, I personally must heartily disagree with the entire notion that Britney and Senator Stott Despoja are in any way paralleled. Please find attached Britney’s latest biography, where you will see nothing but a continual career of success, achievement and hard work – not to mention constant innovation and re-creation.

“On the other hand, Senator Stott Despoja is, in musical terms, nothing more than an old covers band singer whose band is slowly leaving her to work on other, more interesting and substantial ‘originals’ projects.

“Mind you, no other covers singer that I know of gets as many invites to music awards shows, so maybe someone out there likes her warbling.

“Keep up the good work,

“Con Frantzeskos

A&R/Creative Services Manager

Zomba Music Publishers Australia”

Did he speak to soon? On Friday we heard that the singing Britney was “exhausted” and would be taking a six month sabbatical in Louisiana. And we should disclose that Con was the Liberal candidate in the Federal seat of Melbourne at the last Federal election.


Now, to the people who really know how to brawl and wasn’t it fascinating to read in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald that poor old Simey has been considered suspicious by the New South Wales right ever since he turned up to state conference “wearing a country-squire-style chequered sports coat” (it’s called tweed, darling) rather than looking like an extra from Goodfellas.

So what does party reform really mean to the ALP? Here’s how one member of the faithful reported it to Crikey last week:

“Janelle Saffin MLC (the only Upper House ALP member in NSW north of Mr Costa in Cessnock) must have choked on her cereal this morning. The SMH reported that: ‘A major left-wing union, the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, yesterday called for more women MPs and for the next ALP Federal President to be a woman.’

“Is this the same organisation that under the ALP’s affirmative action plan for unions, has a guaranteed seat in the NSW Upper House? Is this the same union, representing thousands of women members that appointed yet another Western Sydney suit, Ian West to fill this position in a casual vacancy? Is this the union who then forced the left faction to put West ahead of Janelle Saffin on the Upper House ticket, denying her a winnable place and causing her early retirement?

“It is bad enough that we are expected to swallow the line that a union bloke from Western Sydney defeated Labor’s sole North Coast MLC “on merit”. Now the Union is publicly setting itself up as champion of female representation in the ALP – Is Janelle Saffin supposed to thank them?”


Our correspondent clearly wasn’t the only person having difficulties with Labor reform. We were impressed by this alert from our old friends at Rehame:

“REHAME ELECTRONIC MEDIA NEWSLINES “ADELAIDE 5UV Radio News 9:05AM ACST Friday, 9 August 2002. News Director: Mr Tony Ryan 08 8303 5000 Former Labor Bob Hawk and Nevil Rann will present a report to Labor’s National Executive today. The Review of the party has already been criticised by former Victoria Premier Joan Kirner who says that it is only listening to one small faction of the party.”

Bob Hawk and Nevil Rann? Fame’s a fickle friend. Odds are that the item was written by a journalism student, too.

He’s dodgy Bodgie

Poor Peter Costello. There he is, patiently crossing off the days in his John Howard Birthday Book when the Silver Bodgie says that the Libs would have a much better chance come 2004 if the Short Man stayed at the helm.

He would say that, wouldn’t he?

Matter to consider

It seems to have missed Nifty and Hawkie’s attention, but ALP heavies might like to consider this interesting recruiting tool when they meet in October to discuss the party’s restructuring. Read on and it becomes self explanatory:



Subject: Selections for Tomorrow

Date: Fri, 09 Aug 2002 15:31:08 +1000


“The selections this week are:

“Melbourne Race 6 – TAB No. 5 (Corvain)

Melbourne Race 7 – TAB No. 4 (La Serenade)

Sydney Race 6 – TAB No. 5 (Star Of Florida)

Brisbane Race 2 – TAB No. 5 (Malumba)

“Put $10 each way on all selections. Put half of your collect in an envelope and give it to a member of our Committee. Thank you to all who contributed from last weeks winnings. We have enough to help another seven of our low income supporters pay their party memberships. Help Nazih and help stop branchstacking. We want a quality candidate preselected to Parliament.”

It all looks thoroughly dodgy some would be powerbrokers bet on the gee-gees to pay the membership fees for their mates. Do they fix the races, too?

Western front

News comes in from the far-away provinces that Lord Voldemort (Noel Crichton-Browne for first timers) supporter Dan Sullivan plans to move on the hapless state Liberal leader, Colin “Boonce” Barnett, supported by fellow Death Eater and self proclaimed saviour of the party, Matt Birney.

All the signs are there membership lists are being leaked, spurious accusations are flying around and poor old Boonce is being shock contradicted. He was forced to appear in The Worst the weekend before last sternly rebuking his wayward MPs but after suggesting that his party disliked him so much because they were “jealous” of him, the move seems to have failed for some strange reason.

Voldemort continues to dominate the state parliamentary party thanks to the vast malapportionment between rural and urban areas, but the centre-right and moderates continue to believe that Boonce is the only candidate capable of defeating the right. Despite being formally non-aligned, they consider him the most friendly contender for the job.

On the other hand, Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters sometimes known as the NCB right want a spill as soon as possible as they fear that their factional opponents will start purging the party of dead wood all good if elderly and undistinguished NCB supporters in twelve months time ahead of the state election.

Most of these have been sitting on Harvest Terrace since Lord Voldemort rose to power in the mid eighties. If Sullivan and Birney are installed, there is a hope of a rearguard action and tipping the scales the other way.

Picking up the pieces in Tasmania

Is there new hope, perchance, for Tasmania’s lame duck Lib leader Bob “Buttocks” Cheek? The pool at his gym was so cold last week that one poor patron got a nose bleed but perhaps he can convert it into an ice rink.

Fate may well be less kind to his dear friend Senator Betz. Erica now seems unlikely to escape the anger of the Tasmanian Liberal Party. Think the peasants storming Dr Frankenstein’s castle in a Hammer Horror film and you’ll have some idea of what the scene will look like.

A new spirit may be abroad in the Tasmanian party. Lyons MLA Rene Hidding was elected leader “by consensus”. Consensus? Is this the influence of the Greens?

Still, problems remain. The new glamour boy of the once great party, Jeremy Rockcliffe, turned up on radio last week singing the praises of controversial pesticide 1080 and calling for an end to bans on GM crops. What he didn’t talk about was his family’s extensive poppy field interests on the state’s west coast and the use of pesticides and enthusiasm for GM crop technology in the industry.

Hornsby juncture

The battle for the Liberal preselection in the New South Wales state seat of Hawkesbury remains firmly stuck in the trenches, with the odd flurry of fire directed at wannabe Stephen Pringle, the Mayor of Hornsby.

Why, people ask, is he challenging Kevin Rozzoli when his own electoral conference in Hornsby would not support him to replace Stephen O’Doherty, but instead backed the unknown Judy Hopwood.

Pringle has been a local identity in Hornsby for a long, long time and has built up a list of enemies – all dedicated – to prove it, starting with his own Liberal colleagues on Council. And what a vocal lot they are: Pringle is the invisible, inactive mayor, they say. All his time is spent chasing Hawkesbury. Hornsby didn’t want him and Hawkesbury shouldn’t be saddled with an outsider.

Perhaps he might get the message.

PS Hillary hears that Council might be interesting this week.


Meanwhile, New South Wales Liberals have been perplexed when they dip into the new Who’s Who to read that Deputy Leader and Central Coast heavy Chris “Mr Burns” Hartcher was Leader of the Opposition between 1996 and 1999.

He’s still a member and yet poor old Peter Collins seems forgotten.

Chika’s revenge

Has all that sticking pins in the voodoo doll worked? Andrew Humpherson, one of the targets of Chika’s revenge for her dumping last March, is seeing his political life flash before his eyes.

As the preselection for Davidson draws ever closer, three of the five local branches have chosen their delegates and the results are an ominous two/one against him, with head office called in over rulings in the one positive branch, Lindfield.

The odd combination of Michael Photios, Ron Phillips and Hartcher are now desperately working the phones in his favour.

Testing the limits

Michael “Khemlani” Johnson’s fundraising frenzy shows no sign of abating. Indeed, after creating a diplomatic incident with his last efforts, he seems determined to once again test the limits of what he can get away with.

Next Tuesday, Ryan locals will be able to hear stem cell research guru Alan Trounson speak at a community forum in the afternoon or pay $50 to attend a dinner with the prof that evening at the Indooroopilly Hotel. There’s much interest to see if people will wear a price tag like that for a pub meal so far away from an election.

Herron off?

Reports once again say that John Herron is finally going to get the diplomatic posting the PM promised him when he stood down from the Ministry two years ago and just one glance in the direction of Santo Santoro, pining for parliament since he was rejected by the voters of Queensland 18 months ago, tends to confirm that this time he might actually be moving on.

Thank Christ for the separation of powers

Finally, racist geriatric Bruce Ruxton has announced his choice for Attorney-General, according to the Border Mail and it is none other than our old friend Sophie “Uptown Girl” Panopolous.

Thank Christ for the separation of powers.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]