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We brought word on Thursday of exiled Liberal MP Moira Deeming – she’s still in the party but booted from the party room, if everyone can follow please – and her almost-triumphant speaking tour of the Victorian Liberal heartland.
Well, the headline event has been announced and we suspect it might be a hotter ticket than Taylor Swift … among a certain cohort.
Independent MP Moira Deeming in parliament this month.Credit: Joe Armao
Deeming’s local Sydenham State Electorate Committee has attracted some big names in Australian conservative politics for a show late this month.
We’ve got Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, Murdoch media columniser and Sky News after-darker Peta Credlin – a staunch Deeming supporter – Labor defector Warren Mundine and three serving Liberal senators including a shadow minister, Victoria’s Sarah Henderson, Tasmania’s Claire Chandler and South Australia’s Alex Antic.
Provocative? Well, Mundine has publicly called state Liberal leader John Pesutto – who expelled Deeming and is in turn being sued by her – “a fool” over his handling of the matter, so maybe a little.
But Mundine isn’t in the Liberal parliamentary team – not for want of trying – and can do what he likes.
The presence of Henderson, Antic and Chandler on the bill for the July 29 event is more interesting as their leader Peter Dutton has demanded that the Victorian Liberals “sort out” the mess created by the Deeming-Pesutto dispute.
So we asked if they’d cleared the appearance with their leader.
Not in Chandler’s case. “There is no expectation in the federal partyroom that female Liberal representatives need permission to support both women’s sex-based rights and the women who are fighting for them,” she told us.
Antic wouldn’t tell us whether he’d had the OK from Dutton’s office.
Dutton was also been contacted for comment while Pesutto’s office, unsurprisingly, wasn’t going anywhere near this one.
But Deeming said that Pesutto and all his parliamentary colleagues were more than welcome to join in the fun on the night.
“It’s going to be a celebration of Liberal values,” she told us. “I hope to see a good showing from Liberal Party state MPs.”
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn has had it with staff staying at home like it’s 2021, with the firm pushing employees to work at least half their hours in the office.
Matt Comyn, stricken with COVID, chose to front a parliamentary inquiry from home.Credit: Illustration: John Shakespeare
It has not gone down well with the rank and file or the Finance Sector Union, which has taken the matter to the Fair Work Commission.
So imagine the glee the union must have felt at the sight of Comyn, immaculately suited and coiffed as ever, but clearly dialling into Thursday’s parliamentary inquiry on the big four banks from the comfort of his own home.
There’s a reason for Comyn’s cosy location – the boss got COVID-19 over the weekend and while isolation rules are thankfully a thing of the past, he felt it best not to travel to Canberra.
When Optus landed in a world of strife during its data breach last year, it became apparent that the telco didn’t have any external lobbyists working the corridors of power, believing its own government affairs team was more than capable.
That approach swiftly changed, with Optus registering veteran corporate affairs type Ian Smith within a month of the hack. TG Public Affairs, chaired by former Labor communications minister Stephen Conroy, was hired in January.
And this week, Optus, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, registered a third lobbying firm – Making the World a Better Place, the cheerfully named company run by Greg Rudd, older brother to Kevin 07.
The Rudd brothers haven’t always seen eye to eye. Around the time of the 2007 Ruddslide, Greg sold his lobbying business to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, with the elder sibling moving to China until after Julia Gillard’s 2010 coup.
Greg Rudd in 2007.Credit: Paul Harris
After returning to Australia, Greg ran unsuccessfully as an independent Senate candidate at the 2013 election. Their most recent stoush came when Greg offered a bit of armchair psychoanalysis of his brother for a Sky News documentary on Rudd and fellow former PM Malcolm Turnbull.
Rudd responded by making an hour-long video with YouTuber Jordan Shanks.
If we asked you to name an Australian company that might fancy itself as needing no help getting access to the nation’s movers and shakers, the big decision makers, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp might spring to mind.
So CBD was a little taken aback to learn that the media behemoth – which styles itself as one of the great influencers in politics, commerce, culture, sport and anything else you care to mention in this little society of ours – has hired a lobbyist.
SEC Newgate, a bit of a stalwart of the trade, which – fun fact – has its very own crisis management smartphone app, has been helping clients access the corridors of power for more than 30 years.
Nobody we’ve spoken to can remember News engaging a lobbying firm directly before – although the company is active in this space, as members of News Media Alliance and Digital Content Next, which together spent $4 million on federal lobbying between 2020 and 2022.
The Murdoch-controlled company does not disclose its activity in trade associations or other indirect lobbying efforts.
We asked our friends at the US-owned publishing empire to ask what the new relationship was designed to achieve, but News didn’t call back, which wasn’t very friendly.
We asked SEC Newgate the same question. Haven’t heard from them either.
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