Hillary Bray and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall have unloaded on all sorts of people in this week’s double act.

Sorry for being late yours truly was in London over the weekend joining the protest against Labour ban against hunting with dogs. And where are our local opponents to moral hysteria and PC puritanism?

A couple of months ago, Trish “The Lavender Lady” Worth, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Minister, flagged the banning of locally made films and TV programs that shock! horror! show smoking. Now, God help us, the Blessed Steve Bracks is leading a crusade against gasp! alcoholic flavoured milk.

Will people who have had a Kahlua and milk in the last 30 years face prison under retrospective laws?

PS Now, to top it all off, we have one of Canberra’s leading wastes of space, cobweb covered Liberal MP Alan Cadman, joining Bible-bashers protesting against a pub in Castle Hills that wants to increase the number of patrons its permitted at any one time to shudder! more than 70! The moral collapse of the area will be instantaneous!

A leader who can save them from themselves

There is fury and amazement in Government ranks in Canberra at the stupidity of the MPs who have spoken publicly about urging the Short Man to stay on as leader.

Everything has been going the Government’s way. The Dems have disintegrated. Labor are irrelevant. Simon Crean is weak and unpopular and under threat. Now, clueless sycophants have managed to put the spotlight back on the issue of the Liberal leadership.

The Prime Miniature and his loyal deputy both had to hose down the issue in various media commitments. With the Government trying to sell the idea of a war, any scent of disunity is unwelcome. At the same time, even the most partisan pols also realise that public speculation about the merits or otherwise of the prospective candidates detracts from them all.

MPs are gobsmacked at the political ineptitude of Bob Baldwin and the other backbenchers who got the issue up and kept it up with their idiot comments on Thursday let alone Mal Brough for keeping the issue alive the following day.

The general consensus is that they need a leader any leader who can save them from themselves.

Labor’s problems explained

From the Sun-Herald everything that’s wrong with the ALP epitomised and Labor’s problems explained and all in less than 200 words:

“Brereton flies to big sister’s aid

By Alex Mitchell

“Federal Labor MP Laurie Brereton yesterday declared war on powerbrokers in the NSW Labor Party in an 11th-hour bid to rescue the parliamentary career of his big sister, Deirdre Grusovin.

“He flew back to Sydney from the United Nations in New York to attend yesterday’s credentials committee to stop his sister from being dumped from the South Sydney seat of Heffron at the next election.

“Tomorrow and Tuesday the party’s powerful administrative committee is expected to oust Mrs Grusovin and give preselection to a relative unknown, American-born Kristina Keneally, who is married to novelist Tom Keneally’s cousin.

Mr Brereton, who was attending the UN as an official Australian observer at taxpayers’ expense, deplored the tactics of the credentials committee to include some branches in the vote on his sister’s fate and exclude others.

Mrs Grusovin’s demise will bring to an end the Brereton family’s 30-year hold on Heffron. Mr Brereton held the Redfern-based electorate from 1973 to 1990 when his sister switched from the Upper House to inherit it.

Mr Brereton’s son Anthony, who works in 64-year-old Mrs Grusovin’s office, had been lined up to take over the seat and keep the dynasty alive in State politics.

ends

CRIKEY: Then there was the tale of Leo Macleay trying to pass his seat onto his son. Don’t these tired old factional warriors ever learn.

What was Tanner’s target?

The Age and Sydney Yawning Herald as befits the Bibles of the self-flagellating soft suburban left ran big last week on Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner’s attack on the Australian Republican Movement.

Tanner declared that the ARM should be “a popularly based, democratic movement driven by people who are known primarily for their commitment to the republican cause”. What he didn’t bother to mention is that the ARM has just held its elections, and that the overwhelming majority of its new national exec are just that rather than the “sports stars, church leaders, writers, media celebrities, or fabulously wealthy” he complained about.

Most of Tanner’s bile, however, seemed reserved for its former head, a Mr Turnbull. That wouldn’t be because he’s now the Liberal federal treasurer, active in political debate on behalf of the Liberal Party and busy chasing a safe Liberal seat, would it?

Only in The Age

Only the Age. No other publication would let the one track old left moaner Phil Cleary get away with it.

Remember back at the Con-Con how he and his fellow unreconstructed whiners did their best to encumber the republic model with piles of old left baggage that would embarrass even Meredith Burgmann? Yet there he was, on the Age’s op-ed pages last Thursday with a piece headed “Republican rivals must end the blame game It galls to see a professional politician reprimanding ordinary punters for failing to resurrect the republic, writes Phil Cleary.”

The nerve!

Overheard in the queue at Aussies

Was that really an adviser to Health Minister Kay Patterson who gave up trying to chat up a little blonde in the queue at Aussies Capital Hill General Store last week to bitch about private health insurance?

The lad started talking about his new glasses complaining how expensive they were, what bad value for money private health insurance was, how he only got a third of his money back and how ridiculous the whole system was.

Presumably he has something brilliant back on his desk in the office.

And the winner is Erica!

Bimbo’s bimbo and Today Show weather girl Sammi Lukis was in Hobart recently to present the Tasmanian Training Authority Awards for TAFE.

In true Crikey style, she introduced the Special Minister of State as Senator Erica Betz provoking much merriment as Erica glowered.

The name caught on. Recipient after recipient referred to Erica Betz as they received their award.

And while Eric Abetz may not be all that popular, it appears that the Apple Isle is warming to Erica. After a mention in the Crikey sealed section, the events of the night were fondly retold on local ABC radio that morning.

Labor’s refugee woes

The Cadaver’s driven his own daughter from the country with his loathsome refugee policies and Simon Crean is doing much the same with his own party.

There were rumours in the ALP last week that the low-profile immigration spokesperson Julia Gillard and Crean were going to announce that a Labor government would build a detention centre on Christmas Island.

This was quickly hosed down by Crean’s office, but has left many Labor supporters wondering when, after close to 12 months “listening to member’s views” Gillard will release something resembling a policy plagiarised from old proposals or anything.

War latest

No not Dubya v Saddam, but the Australian Democrats. Leadership contender Andrew Bartlett is milking his position as Democrat defence spokesperson for all it’s worth as part of a spam campaign for the top job. His staffer and well known bringer of peace within the party, Marianne Dickie, sending around a detailed position paper and resources guide on the state of play between the United States and Iraq.

The use of Parliament House facilities has raised the obvious questions let alone proxy campaigning by Ms Dickie, given the fame she has gained for her of the subtle and conciliatory opinions.

When they see Ms Dickie’s name, some Dems or ex-Dems are recalling her constructive comments on various Senators and party members from earlier this year and asking why hasn’t she received a knock on the door in the middle of night from the dreaded National Compliance Committee?

With friends like this

Just to make life interesting for the Dems, the Lyndon LaRouche followers at the Citizens Electoral Council issued a press release backing the Democrat call for a Senate inquiry before any strike on Iraq.

Why? This is what CEC national secretary Craig Isherwood has to say: “Lyndon LaRouche reports that there is now firm evidence that the ongoing drive to induce President George W. Bush to launch a war against Iraq is a 1996 Israeli government policy that is being foisted on the President by a nest of Israeli agents inside the U.S. government.”

Oh dear. The poor old Dems don’t exactly need anything more at the moment, do they?

Another day, another resignation, another leak

The Dems’ solar powered unicycle (yep, unicycle now one wheel left a few weeks ago) has hit a bump yet again and yet another document has fallen off and found its way to Crikey this time the resignation letter of the party’s treasurer, Helen Hodgson.

The letter is scathing. The Democrat national office, Hodgson writes “is failing to comply with basic financial procedures and controls” and the national executive is “failing to take action”.

Her real scorn is reserved for the national management committee, which “is failing in its obligation to administer the day to day conduct of the party” and is “instead acting as a political wing of the party”. A few other Dems and ex-Dems would agree with that. Here’s the full text for your perusal:

“I hereby tender my resignation from my appointments as National Treasurer, Tax Agent and Party Agent of the Australian Democrats. I am resigning as I can no longer perform my duties effectively due to breakdowns beyond my control in the financial controls and processes. Liz Osama
Democrats National President

September 15 2002

I hereby tender my resignation from my appointments as National Treasurer, Tax Agent and Party Agent of the Australian Democrats. I am resigning as I can no longer perform my duties effectively due to breakdowns beyond my control in the financial controls and processes.

Specifically:

1. National Officers are regularly failing to comply with budgetary processes and limitations. The National Executive is complicit in this by failing to take action when such failures are reported.

2. The National Office is failing to comply with basic financial procedures and controls. I can exercise no control over income or expenditure until reported to me or deposited in the bank. When I have reported breaches the National Executive has failed to take action.

3. The National Management Committee is failing in its obligation to administer the day to day conduct of the party, instead acting as a political wing of the party.

4. For several years the National Executive has failed to give a financial strategic direction, in spite of repeated requests, instead authorising expenditure and projects on an ad-hoc basis.

5. Over the last two years the National Executive has consistently acted contrary to my advice when approving expenditure and projects. My approach to financial management is clearly contrary to the prevailing view, and a new Treasurer may have a more compatible style.

This resignation will take effect from the conclusion of the November National Executive meeting, scheduled for 9 – 10 November 2002. My resignation from this date will allow me to complete::

* Preparation of the 2002 accounts for audit,

* the Australian Electoral Commission Return due 20 October 2002;

* the Business Activity statement due 28 October 2002.

The National Executive should take steps to appoint the following positions at the November meeting:

* National Treasurer (and bookkeeper if the role is to be divided)

* Party Agent

* Tax Agent

Sincerely,
Helen Hodgson
National Treasurer

Happy Birthday, Aden!

Belated birthday greetings go out to the Democrats’ lost leader Aden Ridgeway for Wednesday. The good Senator celebrated with a dinner at Santa Lucia’s Trattoria in Kingston that looked and sounded very convivial.

The birthday boy arrived at the do with none other than Mystic Meg, while other guests included ATSIC heavies Geoff Clark and Sugar Ray Robinson and his fellow “Fab Four” members Andrew Murray, Lyn Allison and John Cherry (who played the party pooper and spent most of the evening on the phone).

Not Aden’s birthday party

A relaxed and comfortable looking Andrew Bartlett held court not that far away from Aden Ridgeway’s birthday bash on Wednesday night over a few bottles of white in a near-empty Press Club and was that John Cherry who managed to drop by late in the evening after attending the other do?

Phil Koperberg sniffs the wind

New South Wales Rural Fire Services Commissioner Phil Koperberg should be able to tell when the wind is changing. So isn’t it interesting that he confirmed last week, as the revelations broke about Eddie “The Godfather” Obied and the dodgy doggies Oasis project, that he won’t run for the Labor Party at the next state election despite a reported personal approach by Premier Malthus.

How short the memories are on Macquarie Street. Back before the 1995 election, as the Liberal Party searched around for a replacement for Barry “The Mad Bomber” Morris as candidate for Blue Mountains, John Fahey was rumoured to have approached Koperberg.

He declined the offer back then, probably wisely, given the Fahey government’ tenuous hold on office. Is Koperberg’s political antennae now telling him that standing for Labor now may not be a good idea?

The right stuff

Wannabe Liberal candidate and alleged tax expert Louise McBride has had to withdraw a fundraising letter sent out on behalf of her brother, the self-proclaimed star recruit and Coogee candidate David, sometimes known as Sniff.

In the letter she assures donors that donations of $1,500 or less are tax deductible. Of course, they’re not. Even little old lady branch treasurers could tell you the limit is a much humbler $100.

Chris Ellison, super salesman

Crikey has gained new readers and even a couple of new subs after Justice Minister Chris Ellison kept plugging us at the Western Australian Liberal Party state council over the weekend (in between threatening to sic his learned friends onto a delegate).

Ellison is welcome to quote Crikey all he likes (with attribution, natch) and the same applies to other local Liberal heavies.

We hear that they were often stuck for replies to questions from the floor on the weekend and, after making goldfish faces for a few minutes, could only respond by accusing questioners of being servants of Lord Voldemort. Given that the NCB forces lost their last significant party post on the weekend, why they were doing that is anyone’s guess.

After the fall

The WA Liberal conference left Senators Ellison and Campbell the big winners, with an influential say in who gets preselected and who gets rolled.

Lord Voldemort’s fortunes seem to be a their lowest ebb for two decades and the twosome plus state leader Colin “Boonce” Barnett are itching to remove some dead wood.

Boonce has been busy travelling the state declaring that the party needs some fresh blood and even in strongholds like lairs in Perth’s southern suburbs and Kalgoorlie, the Death Eaters are cowering from daylight.

Winner takes all?

As coincidence would have it, the race is on for a new State Director in the WA Liberal Party to replace Peter “Jolly” Wells.

The Twins want to put in one of their followers but the Federal Secretariat is cautious. While the Prime Miniature never saw eye-to-eye with Lord Voldemort and would like to encourage the forces of light, he and Lynton “Bing” Crosby are not happy with the performance of the Western Australian division.

The candidates the Twins have put forward are not that impressive. One, Peter Collier, a Scotch College ethics teacher, was publicly accused of decidedly unethical behaviour with membership forms. This obviously creates problems, as Collier would be in charge of the membership lists. Another, Martisse Corman, a Belgian-born lawyer, pretty boy, and political staffer better known as Eurof*ck, is seen as too young and politically inexperienced.

The Short Man knows that Ellison and Campbell’s support for him is probably tentative. For instance, if Peter Costello were to offer Ellison the Attorney General position and Campbell well anything with the title “minister” attached they would be off in a flash. After all, he bought their support from Lord Voldemort. He would like the top man in the West to be independent of friends such as these.

Look out for a director imposed from Canberra.

Punters pals

Crikey wasn’t the only publication to take an interesting in the Arfur Daley types in the Melbourne burbs running the Labor Renewal Betting scam.

We hear that lawyers purportedly acting for Equestrian Publishing Pty Ltd of Dee Why, New South Wales, the publishers of Practical Punting Monthly and purveyors of email selections for a number of betting methods they sell took a keen interest in the rort as well claiming they had ripped off Equestrian selections.

The voice of tomorrow

Most university students weren’t even born when Rod Quantock had an audience of anyone other than tired old leftie hacks but the switched on and up to date Monash University Gippsland Student Union have decided he’s the perfect man for a protest against higher education changes.

This extravaganza, no doubt, will be underwritten by impoverished students from their, er, compulsory and, er, upfront union fee. And will Quantock be able to rise to the event. All his pronouncements suggest that he doesn’t yet know what happened to the Berlin Wall.

A night at the Playboy Mansion

New South Wales Young Libs are raising eyebrows with invitations to a Hugh Hefner themed “Playboy Mansion” fundraiser. Crikey, however, can neither confirm nor deny that the first person to respond was Michael Photios.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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