Hillary has been doing some interesting extrapolation this week.
protect us all in this time of national danger. That hysterical talkback
caller from a couple of weeks ago who beseeched him to save her unborn
children must be feeling a lot more secure.

How do we know he is not going to retire? Well, there are the comments he made
on Friday – and rumours of mid-term reshuffle that could come as early as
the end of the year drifting around.

We’ve already spoken about Ho Chi Minchin and his diminishing prospects, but
what else does the Short Man have planned? Well, his office does not seem
to be enamoured with Kay Patterson’s performance in Health. Some are
tipping that the Reverend Kevin Andrews may get that job.

The Kemp brothers are also supposed to be in trouble, too, with both of them
likely to go in a move that will make Costello supporters nervous.

And with Dazzling Dazza Williams staring down the barrel of a right wing
stack in his seat of Tangey, talk is that his fellow Sandgroper and Justice
Minister, Chris Ellison, could become the least distinguished figure ever to
hold the office of Attorney General.

Last weekend’s events in Queensland could also have a flow on. In the wake
of the election of Santo Santoro, champion of the book-burning right, to
fill John Herron’s Senate vacancy, some banana-bending frontbenchers may
have a change of view. There’s speculation Mal Brough may be dumped from
his Employment Services portfolio and shifted to Citizenship and
Multicultural Affairs, at Gary “Wombat” Hargraves’s expense, leaving the job
free for Santo.

Gough Whitlam exclusive

So E G Wanker says that Sir John Kerr was admitted to the Prince of Wales
for drying out twice while he was GG. Kerr’s private secretary Sir David
Smith – yes, that bloke in that photo reading that proclamation on the steps
of the old house – says he would have noticed if his boss wasn’t there.

What do we conclude from this? Let’s extrapolate. While Wanker’s ego still
powers on, his memory seems to be playing tricks. Perhaps the real story is
Gough has Alzheimers.

Alexander Downer – Junior G-Man

The Stirling Organic Markets in the Adelaide Hills are usually the spot for
a Birkenstock bivouac – not the sort of place where you expect to find the
idiot scions of the ruling class.

But there, just recently, sitting at the cafe was Foreign Minister Lex Loser
– sporting a CIA sweatshirt. Did he get a deputy sheriff’s’ badge on the
Langley tour, too? Shame they don’t trust him with intelligence warnings.

Doyle is doomed

With the Victorian election looking set to be called on Monday, here’s some
advice. Put your money on Bracks. Doyle is doomed.

How do we know. Well, the Victorian Libs have launched a pre-election TV
campaign. Not only does the ads look like a midnight-to-dawn infomercial,
but Doyle intones the cursed words “the things that matter”. We all know
what happened last time a Liberal leader used them.

Further pensees on the Victorian poll are available here.

Simey – friend of the battler (and millionaire gamblers)

Is this all an attempt by Slimy Simey to emulate Bob Hawke? Whatever the
case, it seems to have gone badly awry. Read on…

Two cities. Two Murdoch papers. Two stories about Slimy Simey.

On 23 October Sime declared war on the big end of town: ‘Labor plans to make
some ‘enemies’ to get itself noticed under a strategy endorsed by senior
frontbenchers in the wake of the Cunningham by-election loss. Big business,
the banks and the well off are among the targets but a range of interest
groups may be in for a shock,’ wrote Sue Dunleavey in the Daily Telegraph.

Tough stuff! And fair enough from a champion of the working class. After
all, Slimy Simey is as pure as the driven snow, isn’t he?

Chinese ‘mystery man’ George Lu headed to Malaysia after blowing $93 million
at Crown Casino, reported the Herald Sun. Lu regularly gambled the house
maximum of $200,000 a hand in a private gaming suite. He ate almost every
night at the Crown’s Silks restaurant, running up $10,000-a-night bills
while enjoying $198 bowls of shark fin soup and $2,000 bottles of Grange
Hermitage.

The shadowy Zhi Lu – who adopted the Western name George – lived in room
3918, the best room on the 39th floor of the six-star Crown Towers Hotel.
One night in the opulent penthouse suite, with gold taps and a team of
private butlers, costs $25,000.

Now, if you thought Slimy Simey’s newfound bravery for declaring war on the
big end of town extended to Mr. Lu, you would be wrong. Instead of ‘making
an enemy’ of Mr Lu, Crean had dinner at one of his decadent feasts at Silks.

‘Labor Leader Simon Crean had no idea who he was dealing with when he
joined George Lu for dinner at Crown casino. Mr Crean was treated to an
expensive night out with the mysterious millionaire at Crown’s exclusive
Silks restaurant last November. Quizzed about the meeting, an Opposition
spokesman said Mr Crean had been invited to the dinner by a mutual friend.

“He’s not a friend (of Mr Lu). He’s never met him before or since. That was
the one and only occasion,” the spokesman was reported telling Michael
Warner in the Herald Sun on October 12.

One evening he is said to have inadvertently left behind a $1 million dollar
casino chip. It was later returned to his room by hotel staff, but Mr Lu
claimed it must have belonged to someone else. “He didn’t even realise he’d
lost a million bucks,” a source said.

That’s right, the champion of the worker and enemy of the big end of town
has dinner with some spivvy high-roller he has never met, because a ‘friend’
invited him. And that’s the story Crean is sticking to.

So you see, Slimy Simey may be an enemy of the big end of town, but if
you’re buying a $10,000 dinner, he’s your friend for the night, no questions
asked.

Banquo’s ghost? No, it’s Cheryl

Poor old Sime! He just doesn’t get any breaks. The Labor leader was at a
breakfast function on the Gold Coast earlier this week when Cheryl Kernot
appeared.

The meeja immediately abandoned Simey and his shadow ministers to talk to
the best selling author – much to their chagrin. And what did Chez have to
say? Well, we hear she had whinge about a hackette on the Gold Coast
Bulletin. Predictable, maybe, but not exactly newsworthy.

Crosby’s Senate bid

Margaret Reid hasn’t yet announced her resignation from the Senate (she
probably still lives in hope of overseas trips), but another contender for
her seat has turned up – Dawn Crosby, wife of the retiring Liberal federal
director Lynton Crosby.

Crosby (Mrs) made a bid to enter state politics in her native South
Australia back in the eighties and has been a leading light of the ACT
party. She would make a credible candidate and could expect to make a strong
showing.

Queensland celebrates Santo’s ascension

Santo Santoro’s formal elevation to the Senate by the Queensland Parliament
last week was a less than auspicious occasion.

The great man himself didn’t even bother to attend, claiming a “long
standing commitment” to speak at a Rotary function in Toowoomba. It must
have been very long standing, as the nomination had been set for this date
for some weeks and Santo would have known for some time that the numbers
meant he was odd-on favourite to get the nod. And besides, surely the good
burghers of Toowoomba would have understood, accepted a raincheck and
welcomed him back to speak as a sitting Senator later in the year?

That didn’t stop Liberal state president Michael Caltiabiano from inviting
various hacks and hackettes down to the Strangers Bar at Parliament for a
drink to celebrate Santo’s rise. However, to the best of Crikey’s knowledge
he got no takers.

Indeed, throughout the proceedings the three (count ’em) Liberal MPs in the
89 seat Queensland house – Bob Quinn, Joan Sheldon and David Watson – all
seemed most subdued. Wonder why.

Indeed, there are glum faces amongst some of Santo’s new Canberra
colleagues. Some Queensland Libs are already warning that the political map
is about to be redrawn. Word is that George Washington Brandis’ Senate
preselection is doomed. Talk says that the good folk behind the Santo
ascendancy plan to replace him with Margaret May, the no-profile member for
the mega-safe seat of McPherson, while her position will be filled by right
timeserver Brian Battista.

The Green backlash begins

The backlash starts here. Did you notice the Fin leading the charge to put
the bit into the rising Greens with its editorial last Thursday?

And quite right to. They’re not just about the trees. Make no mistake.
When you give their policies more than a cursory glance, Green turns to Red
quicker than a frog in a blender.

Sons and daughters

And the answer to our question from last week, “Is Annastacia Palaszczuk,
fragrant press sec to Queensland Environment Minister, Dean Wells, related
to the state Minister for Primary Industries and Rural Communities, Henry
Palaszczuk?” is – surprise, surprise – yes.

And this week’s quiz? Is Well’s fragrant Chief of Staff, Carmel Ludwig,
related to AWU cro-magnon Bill?

But wait – these sort of staffing arrangements don’t seemed to be limited to
Queensland. Dee Alty, the wife of the porcine and byssine Tasmanian Labor
fed Dick Adams, is on his staff – but who is the Colleen O’Byrne who works
for Michelle O’Byrne, the Member for the neighbouring seat of Lyons?

Indeed, there are a few people we can ask that question of:

* The Geoff Irwin who works for Julia Irwin;

* The Gail Melham who works for Daryl Melham;

* The Paul Denman who works for little known Senator Kay Denman; and

* The Adam O’Connor who works for Gavan O’Connor?

And what about their Coalition cousins? Other interesting similarities
between the names of pollies and their staffers continue to be brought to
Crikey’s attention.

Liberal Senator Tsebin Tchen has a Jacinta Tchen on his staff and there’s a
Roger Kelly who works for feral Nat De-Anne Kelley. Are these two keeping
things all in the family?

Then, on the crossbenchers, there’s Mad Bob Katter, who’s lawyer daughter is
his chief of staff. She’s said to be switched on, but the principal…

Eye on the electorate

Another political website is drawn to Crikey’s attention – this time Lindsay
Tanner’s click here.

It comes complete with results from the 1998 election and a snapshot of the
seat based on the 1996 census. Now, it’s understandable that Labor MPs might
well still be in denial over the 2001 election – but after the way the
Greens polled in the seat Tanner really should be watching the demographics.

Vicious Wombat?

Oh dear. Gary “Wombat” Hargraves hasn’t had to discipline a staff member
after they got a little carried away while assisting in the UQ student
elections, has he?

Feedback to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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