Former La Trobe University lurker turned Baillieu government planning minister Matthew Guy has ratcheted up his bid to become the 47th Premier of Victoria, plying the state’s media with personal exclusives as dissatisfaction grows with his notional boss.
In recent weeks, garden state political watchers have raised their eyebrows at a spate of policy announcements that appeared to have avoided the usual Josephine Cafagna-approved loop in favour of a direct line into the Herald Sun‘s John Masanauskas.
Yesterday in an impressive Guy-driven announcement, the Herald Sun revealed that the 38-year-old planning minister was taking a paver to Melbourne’s outer suburban green belt with unilateral plans to build six new suburbs, leaving competitor scribes reeling.
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This morning crack Australian state roundsman John Ferguson finally wrote what was on everyone’s lips — Guy was paving the way for a shift from his Northern Metropolitan home to the lower house seat of either Andrew McIntosh’s Kew or Louise Asher’s Brighton before topping Ted in the lead up to 2014.
When confronted with the rumours on Jon Faine’s program this morning, Baillieu was dismissive, telling listeners that “your anonymous commentator I’m sure makes anonymous comments to you on a regular basis and fills your every fantasy for fantasy land, but I don’t think there’s any substance to any of that”.
The tension between the duo is palpable. Spring Street moles report that Baillieu and Guy were overheard having a “heated and passionate” discussion in the back car park of Parliament House earlier this year over the divide between Guy’s responsibilities as Planning Minister and the Premier’s office.
The discussion apparently concluded with Guy uttering a weird threat along the lines of “well, if you want me to continue in Parliament on the backbench, then that’s what I’ll do!”
The spotlight on Guy looks set to to linger. He recently dispatched a glossy mailout to his Northern Metro constituents taking credit for a range of Baillieu budget initiatives. And on June 28 he will address a meeting of the shadowy “Enterprise 500” group at 5.30pm at Ernst and Young on level 24, 8 Exhibition Street in the CBD. The invitation states that “all available Victorian state and federal MPs will be in attendance”, including, presumably, Ted.
Meanwhile, La Trobe student union types recall that Guy was a fan of hanging around the “Agora” in his student days in the mid-1990s but sometimes seemed lethargic when it came to in-depth political conversation.
His alma mater at the campus Liberal Club have taken up the slack, vigorously producing newsletters “kindly printed by the office of Matthew Guy MP”, including this pearler O-week edition featuring Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers and some vigorous and potentially defamatory character assessments of various Victorian political figures.