Wednesday April 28, 2004

Toss this dopey Young Lib out of the house

It says a lot about the political culture in Australia that it almost seems the story we’ve had the most political impact with is that Big Brother’s Katrina is a Young Liberal. Check out what we wrote and how others have reacted.

Hillary Bray column, April 17:

Teenage Toecutter Chris Pyne spoke at the Henderson Family Polytechnic — formerly the Sydney Institute — on Monday night on how politics can be made more relevant to young people. He need have looked no further than the Victorian Young Liberals — for Big Brother Contestant Katrina is a member of the Brighton branch.

Yes, the Victorian Young Libs are plugged right in. There’s even a photo of Katrina on their website at last year’s ball (the one so enlivened by Cameron Boardman) and here it is. Katrina’s in the second photo from the top, on the left, along with Rebecca Gauci — the “friend” who was on Big Brother when the housemates went in.

Hillary also hears a few other stories about people featured on the page — and would you believe it, the Victorian Young Libs have got their pop-culture references covered here too. There apparently could be some brilliant tie-ins to Temptation Island and S-x and the City.

Sealed Section, 19 April & Hillary Bray column, April 22:

By now you’ve probably all cottoned on to the fact that the first evictee from the Big Brother house was Damian when most independent observers thought Brighton Young Liberal Katrina was sure to get the flick first. But one thing’s for sure, over the last week, the news that BB housemate Katrina is a Young Liberal has sent the tiny Tories crazy.

This is how the BB website describes our heroine:

“She’s not as loud as Shannon, nor as limelight-loving as Damian. But, although she’s quiet, Katrina’s not afraid to share her opinions — something which seems to have put off the other housemates. On the first night, she told Sahra that none of the guys in the house were her type. By day two, she was telling Marty that the rat cage should be covered in a particular way. In neither case did the recipients of her opinion seem particularly impressed. At least one of the housemates remarked that Katrina can be condescending. On one occasion, she told the housemates that if she ever met herself, she would think that she was amazing. On several occasions, she pointed out that she has an IQ five points higher than her boss.”

With a profile like that, who would have ever guessed that she’s a Young Liberal, let alone from Brighton.

It doesn’t seem as if Kat’s been a winner with audiences, either. The forums have also been rife with anti-Kat comments: she is described as “whiny”, “selfish” and “spoilt”.

With reviews like that, eviction is looming for Katrina — so the Young Libs are fighting back. This e-mail from bright Young Lib staffer Belinda Lawton came out of Macquarie Street last Thursday:

“Subject: Attention all you groovy YL fun seekers

“We cannot let Katrina, the only YL ever to make the starry heights of Big Brother, suffer the humiliation of being the next Andy voted out of the house by viewers around the nation in the first eviction!

“Thankfully, the collective voices of the NSW YLs can make a difference. This is the ultimate save a Young Liberal from social Siberia. All you need to do is follow the instructions below.

“Love your work,


“We Victorians in the YL movement (although I still consider myself still half NSW YL) are in need of a bit of help at the moment to keep one of our own — Katrina in the BB house. The Save Katrina interest group is asking for the help of the NSW YLs in keeping Katrina in the house by placing votes to evict Turkan by phoning 1902 555 011. Please forward this on to anyone else you may think will help in our quest.

“Many Thanks, “Joe”

Vital electorate work, hey Belinda?

Sealed section, April 24. Big Brother — what might have been:

When Crikey first revealed that Big Brother’s Katrina was a Victorian Young Liberal a fortnight or so again, Hillary praised the tiny Tories for their work in finding innovative new ways “politics can be made more relevant to young people”.

Now, the news that Katrina has appeared in The Picture magazine’s 100% Home Girls special — see here — that charming Packer family publication targeted at lonely blokes (and will be back for an encore performance), Hillary can only stop and think about what might have been.

Imagine if the pix were around for the 1999 Victorian state election at the Libs “Jeff f*cken rules” campaign. They would have been right in sync with the rest of the ads. Exhibition Street would have snapped them up — and kit-off Katrina could have become a winning weapon bringing the Jeff message to a crucial demographic the Libs had previously missed.

Katrina splits the ALP:

Billy Hughes, Joe Lyons, Santa — and now Katrina. Yep. Our favourite topless Tory is now splitting the ALP. Just look at these two contradictory e-mails that have come Hillary’s way:

“Most people would have heard by now that the annoying Katrina from Big Brother is in fact a member of the Young Liberal Party.

“This being the case it is time for a good old fashioned “Kick the Young Lib off Big Brother” grass roots campaign.

“The Young Libs across Australia are apparently launching a campaign to save Katrina so lots of phone calls are needed to ensure that Katrina does not become the next Sarah Marie, (imagine her being congratulated by John Howard at some Young Lib convention.)

“The Big Brother website claims that “she has become infamous for talking to herself,” and that she is “annoying all her house mates with her tantrums.” This of course goes to prove what all members of young Labor have known all along – nobody likes a Young Lib.

“If members of Young Labor are looking for a candidate to support, I suggest you throw your support behind Shannon. She is the daughter of Michael Cleary, a former Labor Minister in the Wran Government.

“To vote off Katrina call 1902 555 010.

“Cheers, Chris Minns

“President, NSW Young Labor.”

Some ALP heavies want to save Katrina:

“A Message from the ALP “Save Katrina” Steering Committee

“The Sydney Morning Herald and have reported that the Young Liberals have launched a campaign to keep Big Brother housemate Katrina in the Big Brother house.

“Katrina, a long time Young Liberal member, has already spoken about her aspirations to political life after Big Brother. As Katrina is the face of the Liberal Party of the future, it is important that as many young Australians as possible have an opportunity to have a good look at her. Given the chance, she may turn out to be the new Bronwyn Bishop or Kerry Chikarovski, and it would be a tragedy for Labor if such a career were to be nipped in the bud by an early eviction from the House.

“For this reason, Labor supporters have formed an ALP “Save Katrina” Steering Committee to support the campaign of the Tiny Tories to keep Katrina in the house as long as possible.

“Unfortunately, Katrina is up for eviction again this week! Once again she topped the tally with 9 votes from her housemates who, not surprisingly, collectively find her views highly annoying and her manner abrasive. Not to mention the frequent references to her IQ being 5 points higher than that of her boss.

“Save Katrina! Keep her in the House where we can continue to follow her regular teary tantrums and her desperate pleas to fellow housemates that she has been misunderstood. Vote Alex out of the house instead.”

HILLARY: So where does Labor stand? Do they want Katrina in the house or our? Hillary waits with bated breath for Simon Crean to have the final word on the matter.

Evicted Damian had a Liberal connection:

A Liberal-connected Queensland subscriber writes:

Crikey, The first evictee Damian is actually the cousin of a Federal Minister’s CoS. The CoS was also a Councillor in south east QLD for 6 years and the Minister in question is one Ian McFarlane.”