Craig McLachlan in a promo for his TV interview (Source: Channel 7/Twitter)

Mighty Malouf’s perilous descent Literary icon David Malouf has been hanging out in Sydney and found time to speak to broadcaster Richard Glover on ABC 702. Malouf, whose first novel was published in 1975, firmly believes that authors are limited only by their imagination, telling Glover he didn’t believe in “cultural appropriation”.

Malouf is a huge fan of Shakespeare. “Are we going to say, for example, that Shakespeare should never have written A Midsummer Night’s Dream because he was neither a fairy nor a mechanical? Or that Henry James should not have written The Portrait of a Lady because he wasn’t a woman?

“I believe that all a writer needs is a little glimpse and after that intuition and imagination which allows him to see all the rest. If it’s convincing, it’s true.” Malouf expanded on this topic in his closing address to the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Sunday night, from a temporary stage with planks for steps.

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As the 87-year-old slowly stepped down the stairs at the conclusion, the entire audience held its collective breath, remembering the last time an Australian icon fell down a set of stairs. Where was the muscular young bloke who could have helped Malouf to the floor? Hard to find at a book-fest.

C-bombs away! Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles was in the news again yesterday, and it had nothing to do with borders. Addressing a crowd of union members at a Labour Day rally in Brisbane, the urbane 43-year-old appeared to call Scott Morrison a “cunt”, earning a rousing cheer from the audience.

“Albo’s here with us at Labour Day … while Scott Morrison’s charging 5000 bucks a head to have dinner with him. What a cunt … contrast. Don’t we need … contrast. It’s contrast.”

Like most Queenslanders, Miles, the former health minister, earns a lot of social capital by sticking it to the feds. Later, he insisted it was an honest mistake. “I understand that I might have stuttered while speaking earlier and that some in the crowd might have misheard what I said,” he said. “I want to be very, very clear — whatever I think of the Prime Minister, I would never, ever use language like that.”

Former PM Gough Whitlam loved to employ the c-bomb, to devastating effect. When rural politician Sir Winton Turnbull shouted in Parliament, “I am a Country member”, Whitlam intoned, “I remember”.

Disendorsement dues for booze? Maverick MP George Christensen is trying to wangle an extra $100,000 from the Australian taxpayer on his way out the door.

Christensen announced last month that he would not be standing at the next election. However, under parliamentary rules, if he is officially disendorsed by his party, he could be eligible for a taxpayer-funded pay­ment of $105,600, or six-months’ salary, as a “resettlement allowance”.

Last month he posted a video to his Facebook page, saying he had become disillusioned with politics. “Politics just does not seem to be working when it comes to issues that seem to matter to me and many others,” he said. “Unfortunately, I’m not so sure anymore that these issues can be properly fixed by legislation and via the ballot box.”

Perhaps they could be fixed by moving to the Philippines? Christensen was nicknamed the “Member for Manila” after taking at least 28 trips there between 2014 and 2018. With one-way flights to Manila currently going for as low as $1000, that “resettlement allowance” could buy a lot of mai tais.

The shirt off his back Viewers of Channel 7 were served up a rather strange promo this week, for a documentary-style news special.

In the video, a dishevelled-looking man with an untrimmed grey beard says to the camera, “How you going? Been a while. Been a while since we last videoed anything together. Hope your lives are good. Treasure them, because they can be taken away… like that [snaps fingers].”

The man, filmed without a shirt on, is in fact actor Craig McLachlan, the former star of Neighbours and The Dr Blake Mysteries. The 55-year-old’s career came to a standstill in 2019 when he was accused of indecent assault and harassment on the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show.

The actor was charged with seven counts of indecent assault and six of common law assault. After a lengthy trial, all the charges were dismissed in late 2020.

Separate defamation proceedings against the ABC and what was Fairfax, plus a former co-star, were halted after the laying of the criminal charges but will now go ahead.

Channel 7 confirmed McLachlan “will receive a fee” for his participation.

“The McLachlan family will receive a fee for the interview and related production expenses. The broadcast will adhere to the legal requirements in respective markets,” a Channel 7 spokesperson said.

Channel 7 is teasing the documentary as “months in the making”, “new evidence”, “new eyewitnesses”, “never-before-seen footage” and “explosive revelations”.

But could the production budget not have extended to a shirt?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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