If you think Chris Crewther will be the last MP to be struck down by section 44, we have bad news. Plus, more Liberal Party mates on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and Joe Hockey acts strangely on social media, again.
From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours…
Chris’ bingle. Over the last week, the dorsal fin of section 44 has once again breached the surface and started its ominous glide towards parliament. This time, it’s Liberal backbencher Chris Crewther who is in strife over a shareholding in Gretals Australia, which was the beneficiary of a $421,854 Australian Research Council linkage grant in August. If this is enough to topple him, a tipster pointed out, “there’s going to be a contagion across the parliamentary ranks”. Mining companies in particular are frequently beneficiaries of ARC Research Grants — among them BHP Biliton, Santos, and Woodside.
And wouldn’t you know it, quite a few MPs have shares in mining companies. Melissa Price, for one, has a direct shareholding in BHP (the government must be quaking at the thought of losing her), and John Alexander has shares in BHP, Santos, and Woodside. If it turns out this is enough to get you knocked off, Alexander would join Rod Culleton as a dual breacher. Watch this space.
From Melissa Price’s register of interests
AAT watch. Ms Tips and her Crikey companions have long kept an eye on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, stacked as it is with Liberal Party mates. And — surprise, surprise — a couple more cropped up in the latest round of appointments. Belinda Pola, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s former chief of staff, and Donna Petrovich, a former member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 2006 to 2013, both have those. Again, this is an oversight role that potentially pulls down over a hundred grand a year. And so it goes.
Come on, Guy. We’ve been asking our Victorian readers for their election material tips, and one of you has delivered (which is more than you can say for the material itself).
“Material for a state election postal vote from the Libs just arrived here in the electorate of Malvern,” said the tipster. “Unfortunately, it is from the Liberal candidate for Mulgrave. Oh well, both seats start with M.”
Ms Tips notes: Mulgrave is Premier Daniel Andrews’ seat.
Hot air Hockey. What the hell is going on with our former treasurer? In his role of ambassador to the US, his social media presence has caught the attention various outlets (including this one) for his sartorial choices and fondness for turn-of-the-millennium Aussie boy bands. Now he appears to be taking a turn for the Trump, by osmosis, or perhaps by design.
First, we got his thoughts on media bias. He tweeted that coverage of the midterms showed “a vast number of journalists actually hate the people they write about. The most trusted journalists should be the ones that you’d never work out who they voted for.” To be fair, this was a point he later backed away from:
Then, later that same day, Hockey’s Instagram account captures the moment he met Bret Baier of Fox News. You know, the guy who falsely reported that Hillary Clinton faced indictment over her email scandal a week before the election. Hockey called him “one of the best tv journalists I have dealt with over my 30 years in public life” and an example of how to report news fairly in an atmosphere of “unyielding bias”. Such is Hockey’s commitment to backing journos whose political preferences you’d never guess.
Karina, Karina, where you been so long? A tipster got in contact to point out that now-departed Cricket Australia boss David Peever arrived at his final news conference flanked by former NBN Co chief flak Karina Keisler. Yep, earlier this year, the partisan tweeter and self-plagiariser quit the thankless task of handling the media on behalf of a bloated, perpetually disappointing and out-of-touch organisation, crumbling around the edges in public, so that she could work for… *checks notes*… Cricket Australia.