With the Victorian ALP hierarchy now on a single-minded mission to drive dot.bomb mogul Evan Thornley out of hiding in the south of France and into the waiting arms of slavering journalists, one issue has remained out of sight -- Thornley's intimate relationship with his financial overlords at Macquarie Bank. Ever since Thornley and partner Tracey Ellery set up LookSmart in 1995, Macquarie has never been far behind -- providing venture capital, governance advice and even moral support to Thornley's private sector career hatched in the bearpit of the Melbourne University Student Union.

To date, the focus has been squarely on Thornley's cosy relationship with Better Place, the electric car battery firm that he, and Victorian Premier John Brumby, hopes will revolutionise car transport on the Eastern seaboard. Macquarie is in the thick of that deal, having pledged to help Better Place raise $1 billion for the ambitious electric car network.