Ed Sheeran, Russell Crowe and Ronan Keating in high spirits

Laura Bonner is well overdue for a night on the couch with the telly. The Irishwoman has been hard at work promoting her drinks brand Muff Liquor – named after the village of Muff in County Donegal, so behave – and schmoozing some of her high-profile investors, most notably our very own Oscar winner and CBD regular Russell Crowe.

But it turns out that Crowe is not the only famous figure sinking their hard-earned into the brand.

Ed Sheeran – a co-investor in Muff Liquor Men – performing at the MCG last Thursday.Credit:Rick Clifford

The Hollywood heavyweight is the lead investor in an outfit called Muff Liquor Men (MLM) – along with MCG-filler Ed Sheeran, Irish songster Ronan Keating, UK comedian Jimmy Carr, a regular on ABC-screened panel shows and Dublin talent agent Noel Kelly – which owns 35 per cent of the company.

And the Muff Liquor crew have been having quite the time these past few days. On Thursday, they were out on the lash together after catching Carr’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show and were partying again on Friday night after Sheeran’s record-breaking performance in front of 106,000 fans at the MCG.

Saturday was another big night as Sheeran, Crowe and Bonner joined Snoop Dogg backstage at Rod Laver Arena after the opening show of US rap royal’s Australian tour and where some of the company’s merchandise was broken out.

“It was a real surreal moment watching those three legends drinking my vodka and gin,” Bonner told CBD.

When a smaller group went back to Crowe’s Melbourne pad, a bottle of poitin, Ireland’s traditional not-quite-legal grain liquor was cracked open, just for good measure.

CBD has made it clear it expects an invite next time, although we’re not confident we could keep up that pace.


Say what you like about Gerry Harvey, he puts his money where his mouth is.

Just last week, the Harvey Norman chairman advised our dear colleague, Australian Financial Review scribbler James Thomson to sell his house, his boat and even his car, sinking the proceeds into Harvey Norman shares.

Three or four years down the track, Harvey predicted, Thomson would no longer have to be scratching a living as a humble Nine News and Entertainment scribe.

Only time will tell if it was good advice. But what we know for a fact is that a couple of days after his chat with Thomson, Harvey splashed out a shade under $8 million on the company’s shares – with the transactions announced to the market on Tuesday – paying about $3.75-a-pop.

Harvey says they’re grossly undervalued and that a price of between $6 or $8 would be more like it.


Now, Thomson points out that Harvey was saying similar things back in early 2018, when Harvey Norman stock was trading at similar levels to today. Within three years it was back up past $6.

Harvey told us that his share splurge wasn’t unusual. He’s been at it for years and even strongly advised CBD to get on board.

“I haven’t sold a Harvey Norman share in the past 20 years, but I’ve bought some if not every year, nearly every year,” Harvey said.

“It’s been a very winning strategy.

“I buy more and more every year, and I’ll do it till I die, probably.

Unfortunately, James was unable to take Jerry’s advice.

“Well, I don’t have a boat,” Thomson told us. “The bank owns the house and I’d be in trouble if I didn’t have a car.”


The politicians versus press netball clash at Canberra’s Parliament House on Wednesday morning looks set to be a little short of star power, with several key players struggling to get to the court as they battle with International Women’s Day (IWD) diary clashes.

Nationals frontbencher Bridget McKenzie is a keen player and Parliamentary Friends of Netball co-chair, but she’s got a lot on today, with the unveiling of the historic sculptures of Dame Enid Lyons and Dame Dorothy Tangney – the first two women elected to federal parliament – and an IWD breakfast both vying for her attention.

The initial casting phase of the new sculpture of Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons by Lis Johnson.Credit:Dom Northcott

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells and Regional Development Minister Kristy McBain would also be starters for the pollies, but they too are due at the unveiling across the road at Old Parliament House of the bronze statues by Melbourne sculptor Lis Johnson, with McBain set to do the honours.

Let’s hope they don’t miss a netball masterclass at the Parliament House courts by Diamond Madison Browne and Fiji coach Kate Carpenter, who were both on the way to the capital, according to CBD’s latest information, for the coaching session.

The statues were commissioned by the previous Morrison government in August 2021 along with a separate statue of Neville Bonner, the nation’s first Aboriginal Australian MP, with that project still in the development stage.

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