Election timing. I heard from someone high up in Canberra that the election tally room has been booked for August 28…

Push against Hawke in NSW Libs. Members of the NSW Liberal Party have welcomed the decision by Nick Campbell to resign his position in light of his connection and participation in the criminal factional war waged by the elected federal member for Mitchell, Alex Hawke. The NSW Liberals have today signaled they are fair dinkum about the future, and are serious about governing by taking this step, but there is still more work to do according to a current unnamed member of the party. They write:

“If the hierarchy of the Liberals had any backbone left, they would also ask Mr Alex Hawke to stand aside, and/or resign his position immediately to ensure no further embarrassing attention is brought to Barry O’Farrell before the next election.

“This is about getting the Liberals in a position fit to govern at both the state and federal levels. Clearly, we as Liberals can’t do that if Alex Hawke chooses to stubbornly remain in his position.”

Members have pointed to the recent decision of the disputes panel of the NSW Liberals condemning Hawke’s behaviour as a reason for his immediate expulsion.

“Mr Hawke has clearly abused his privilege as an elected representative by calling the police to his office without any need to do so, when a political meeting didn’t go his way.”

“This is a serious abuse of power, and a strong-arm tactic often seen in such countries as Fiji or Burma, when political meetings don’t go the way their political masters want them to go.”

And members who were present, and were subjected to the disgraceful tactics of their elected member strongly believe that Hawke should have criminal sanctions imposed, if an investigation warrants it.

“The behaviour of the Liberal member for Mitchell is absolutely extraordinary, and never-before-seen in Australia’s political history. He should therefore face the full thrust of the law, and should be charged with causing a public mischief, and should be disciplined by the parliamentary privileges committee.”

“The longer this Hawke dispute drags on, the worse off the Liberal party as a unit becomes.”

“Mr Hawke would be doing everyone a favour by opting to resign his position effective immediately, failing that the NSW State Executive MUST move to expel him.”

Brogden’s man back in parliament? The battle for the plum NSW state seat of Vaucluse is hotting up with the rumoured entry into the race of former John Brogden chief of staff Peter Fraser. Fraser joins Left numbers woman Gabrielle Upton, independent restaurateur Peter Doyle, Woollahra mayor Andrew Petrie, Turnbull branch fixture Mary Lou Jarvis and Sydney gymnasium tycoon and right-winger Peter Cavanagh to assume the seat being vacated by former NSW opposition leader Peter Debnam.

Since the resignation of his former boss, Fraser has positioned himself as a credible candidate for a seat that has been run down since Greiner government minister (and current Liberal party honorary treasurer Michael Yabsley) held it in the 1980s. Fraser appears to have locked in the electoral support of the Jewish community, having worked at the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce. Within the Liberal Party he is seen as someone who can bridge the factional divide and work with both sides.

Fraser currently works at cutting-edge social media company SR7, a world away from traditional media roles he held with Andrew Peacock and John Hewson. But he won’t have to move his office far — his current digs are opposite the Mint on Macquarie Street, a stone’s throw from his former office at state parliament.

Fraser has the pedigree to win Vaucluse, having lived in the eastern suburbs continuously, except for a stint working for Victoria’s most successful Liberal premier Jeff Kennett. He was spotted catching up with Liberal power-brokers in Aussie’s Cafe in parliament house Canberra this week, and is regularly seen about the traps with Daisy Turnbull.

ALP goes young in Maranoa. The ALP has chosen its candidate for Maranoa in Queensland — a promising young (27) bloke by the name of Geoff Keating, who ran in the last state election at Southern Downs.

ABC navel-gazing. As ABC troops envy Sky News there are growing widespread rumblings within ABC news and radio departments that the erstwhile veteran heads of those areas would have led things a lot differently last week had they not been “moved on” over a year ago. So just how high up should Aunty’s navel-gazing look?

Telstra dodges the hate. Quote from a senior Telstra executive at a recent internal meeting: “The great thing about NBN, is that everyone is going to be hating them instead of us in the future.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey