There have been regular rumours over the past year that Herald Sun columnist and former Labor staffer Andrew Bolt is planning a career in politics with the Liberal Party.

We’ve received a couple of tips from the Bendigo region in recent days and sent this one to Bolter for a comment last week:

I’m telling you Crikey, right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt is headed to Parliament on the back of a slow fast train if you believe the locals in Bendigo. So not only will Bracks lose seats in the area because he has failed to deliver anything meaningful, or in fact listen to what the locals are asking for, (which is more frequent services stopping at all stations not a fast train that saves ten minutes by cutting out all stops), he will have to deal with the figure-head of the right in Parliament.

We formally put this to Bolter and asked whether there was “any truth to it?”

“As true as everything else you write about me,” was the reply, which we’re interpreting as confirmation given that Crikey has a long record of accurate reporting about Bolt.

However, we’d be very surprised if Bolt uprooted his young family from leafy Malvern and moved to Bendigo, although he was happy to relocate to Hong Kong for News Ltd in 1996. Bolt has not yet emerged to challenge an incumbent Victorian Liberal so that only leaves tackling a Labor-held seat such as Bendigo.

The other question is why he would bother with state politics. As someone who has criticised Victorian leader Robert Doyle, Bolt would see himself as a potential leader and Premier. He has been honing his political message through his columns and regular speeches and media appearances in recent years when he has made a dramatic lurch to the Right.

If Bolt went Federal and made a move on Canberra, he would probably struggle to ever make it into Cabinet and at 45 he might be leaving his run a little late. Besides, Canberra is very disruptive to family life and Bolt is a devoted family man. The obvious seat would be Kooyong but that would involve dislodging Petro Georgiou, something the Costello-Kroger forces would only attempt if they were supremely confident with their numbers. Sacrificing Petro for a divisive figure like Bolt would cause a lot of pain for arguably little gain.

The other amusing story to emerge over the weekend was this effort from the Sunday Herald Sun suggesting Eddie McGuire was being targeted for the safe Federal Labor seat of Scullin, held by the uninspiring Harry Jenkins jnr.

Eddie definitely has political aspirations and Nine losing the AFL rights in 2007 would be as good a time as any to jump off the TV rat race. BRW estimated last week that Eddie grossed $3.5 million last year, so the lad is not short of a quid. His best man and older brother Frank McGuire is a political junkie who was a press secretary in the Cain Labor government and chief strategist for Natasha stott Despoja when the Democrats train wreck occurred.

However, it would take a Latham-esque intervention such as that which occurred with Peter Garrett to parachute Eddie into a safe seat when you consider that Looksmart chairman Evan Thornley is ahead of him in the queue and actively seeking a safe Labor seat in Melbourne. Thornley is devoting much of his life and some of his wealth to the cause and has been a generous Labor Party donor, whereas Eddie’s generosity to Labor with his time and money is not so apparent.

Peter Fray

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