British political columnist
Matthew Parris recently wrote about a meeting he had with Queensland
Liberal Senators George Brandis and Brett Mason (and in the same column
he described John Howard as having “the electoral appeal of a stoat”).
Brandis have a wider repertoire of descriptives for the PM? Were last
year’s “lying rodent” claims, so prominent at the beginning of the
campaign, incorrect? That’s all being tested at the moment in
Queensland, where Liberal dissident Russell Galt, the man who made the
allegations that Brandis called the PM names, appeared before the
Liberal Party Star Chamber yesterday.
Details of the case were leaked to the Courier Mailyesterday. We’re talking Queensland Libs here, after all:
Liberal dissident Russell Galt, who alleged John Howard was
called a ‘lying rodent’ by a Queensland Senator, will today detail
claims of a secret $140,000 deal to muzzle him and accuse the division
of a Stalinist-like campaign against free speech.
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As Mr Howard
last night opened the new Liberal headquarters in Brisbane, the party’s
disciplinary committee was analysing an 18-page submission from Mr Galt
in response to moves to expel him from the state organisation…
The submission, obtained by The Courier Mail,
is the only detailed account by Mr Galt of his motivation in going
public with the allegations, as well as providing his first comments
about a reported $140,000 deal to drop a legal challenge to his failed
Mr Galt alleged that in October 2003
Liberal state president Michael Caltabiano persuaded him to drop a
legal challenge over his failed bid to stand for the outer Brisbane
seat of Moggill by committing the party to pay his $140,000 legal bill.
It is alleged Mr Caltabiano, who has repeatedly denied any such deal
existed, made the commitment without the knowledge of executive party
Yeah, well, as we said – Queensland Libs.
has been briefed on the dossier, and the Caltabiano agreement appears
to be the standout. But there’s some other interesting reading – like a
lovely letter from our friend Michael Johnson (AKA Khemlani) to Galt.
It’s like the Member for Ryan makes dreams come true. Perhaps his next
gig will be with the Starlight Foundation. He might take over Neverland
if Michael Jackson goes down. Khemlani writes:
There are some special experiences that add value to our
lives beyond any direct financial or remunerative benefit. I do hope
that most of the experiences you have personally enjoyed, including
dinner with Federal Cabinet Ministers and Ambassadors to meeting high
profile Australians will be recalled fondly. I hope that the sporting
functions you attended with the likes of Ben Tune, John Eales, Matthew
Hayden and Ricky Ponting in particular will also hold a memorable place
in your life. I should not forget the entire Springboks Rugby Squad
either! Such occasions are afforded to very few Australians.
And on the preselection loss where the Klan Khemlani backed Galt:
We believe that had you been successful you would have gone
on to become the State Member for Moggill and carried out your
responsibilities with style and substance. Moreover, as two local
representatives we would have worked together tremendously well in the
interests of our constituencies.
We don’t know if any
of the Star Chamber members trooped down to their local multiplex the
night before the trial began for the midnight screening of The Revenge of the Sith
– but if they made the trip they may have noticed a certain “Together
we could have ruled the galaxy” echo in Khemlani’s korrespondence.