Nick Xenophon
Nick Xenophon (Image: AAP/Tracey Nearmy)

Former senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon is back in the public eye, and his hunger for the spotlight seems unsated. He’s set up a Sydney law firm with former journalist (and his previous media adviser) Mark Davis. In an Australian Financial Review piece on Friday that manages to be both promotional and, at the same time, weirdly vague, the pair say they want to “exploit the reluctance of Australian lawyers to spruik for their clients”. Xenophon said he and Davis offered a “combination of legal knowledge, media experience and political experience … But I emphasise, we are not lobbyists.”

Davis said law is “done essentially in the dark … But there are some disputes that are by their very nature public. It’s a space a lot of Australian law firms are uncomfortable with being in — and Nick and I are not. We are more than prepared to defend publicly.”

While it may be a new idea for Australia, the idea that Xenophon would be willing to hunt publicity for his clients doesn’t exactly surprise us — whether it was his time in state politics, his nine-year senate stint, or his ill-fated attempt to return to the South Australian parliament, Xenophon never saw a stunt he didn’t want to jump on like a trampoline. We’ve had a teensy violin for Tom Waterhouse, and a teensy car with Xenophon’s face plastered on the window. We’ve had livestock, and boxes and boxes of unused (but Australian-made) crockery. We’ve had the most painful barrage of puns; a goat asking voters not to “kid around”, a dog who wouldn’t “roll over when it came to SA’s interests” and, worst of all, a toy train with a giant box of gravy as it’s cargo (the brand is, helpfully, “Pollies Gravy Train”). And of course we’ve had political ads so awkward they make you want to squirm yourself out of existence.

If anything, the weird thing about the past year or two is that we haven’t been regularly assaulted with Xenophon wackiness. Since his SA-Best party bombed out of the state election in 2018, the only place we’ve really seen his face is on the back of receipts.

We look forward to seeing what he comes up with for his new venture — arriving at court on horseback to demonstrate how his client’s rights have been trampled, maybe?

Peter Fray

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