A call to
Brisbane Marketing will confirm the departure after only six months of
Government and Media Relations Manager Genevieve Atkinson, daughter of
former Lord Mayor Sally-Anne, and a respected operator around town.

has been poached by a local PR firm. Her departure follows hot on the
heels of the sudden departure of the woman dubbed by the Courier-Mail as the “most powerful woman in Brisbane,” Marina Vit.

Vit, who was dubbed “the Golden Bulldog” in the same Courier-Mail
article, has traded in the political backstabbing, the long days and
lonely nights in charge of Brisbane’s tourism body for the relative
luxury and sensible lifestyle afforded by a property development role
with the mercurial Maha Sinnathamby, who is developing a massive new
city on the outskirts of Brisbane.

The departure of both women –
one widely known as a former ALP enforcer, the other with strong
Conservative pedigree – should be a worrying sign for Liberal Lord
Mayor Campbell Newman. He has also lost the CEO of Council’s investment
attraction arm, the curiously-named Velocity. As they say, one is
unfortunate, two is careless, three is a conspiracy.

Both Vit
and Atkinson were instrumental in the development and financing of
Brisbane’s make-or-break re-branding campaign to try to kill off
lingering southern views of Brisbane’s sleepy, hot and Calvinist
reputation. This campaign must be under serious long-term threat, given
the tens of millions of dollars Newman will have to squeeze from the
private sector if the campaign is going to cut through like the
Melbourne sepia romance campaign on which Campbell’s vision for
Brisbane’s brand is based.

The fact that three seasoned hard
heads from the full spectrum of the political world have left Council
prematurely (Vit was barely a year into the job and Atkinson about half
that) suggest deep unease at the top. Is it Can-Do Campbell’s own
propensity for micromanagement and hands-on leadership? Is it the still
shell-shocked Labor majority rocking the boat? Or is it just that the
public service never pays enough to attract and keep the best people?