Albanese declares Fox helicopter ride and other perks
At CBD, we’re keen watchers of parliamentary registers of interests, for the valuable live insights they provide into the extraordinary amount of corporate largesse doled out to our senior politicians.
Here are a few more key disclosures you might have missed. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese got pretty cranky with reporters asking about his trip, revealed by The Age, in Lindsay Fox’s helicopter to a barbecue hosted by the trucking magnate.
Anthony Albanese: Key disclosures.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
There had been several unsuccessful attempts to confirm the jaunt with Albanese’s office before finally he was pigeonholed at a press conference.
There, all he would say was that he attended private meetings all the time and that those private meetings were, well, private.
It all seemed a bit of an odd evasion when he was always likely to have to declare it, and attentive readers of that story will be pleased to hear that Albo has done his duty on this score and declared the trip to the Fox’s barbecue.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews arrived by car at the same event and posed for a prime ministerial selfie.
Albanese’s declaration was dropped with a reveal that he also scored tickets to Elton John’s Sydney show – courtesy of insurance giant Allianz.
Still, we reckon the funniest entry is the 2023 honorary Canterbury League Club membership, which stands out given the PM’s fanatical South Sydney Rabbitohs support.
We somehow don’t think membership perks at that palatial Sydney pokie den will be enough to convert Albo into a Bulldogs fan, especially given the Belmore boys’ painful recent seasons.
Gardening Guardianista.Credit:John Shakespeare
The Guardian Australia’s hiring blitz continues, but it’s unclear whether recruits will have an office to work in. The local arm of the global media outlet still hasn’t fully recovered from a mysterious ransomware attack that hit in the final days of 2022.
Despite The Guardian’s spinners telling The Age that staff would be back in the office by January 23, many in Sydney were only able to come in again from early March.
A spokesperson for The Guardian told CBD: “Staff have been returning to the office over the past few weeks, and we expect all staff to be back in the office within a few weeks.”
Of course, we reckon most Guardianistas are well accustomed to working from home. The local outfit famously dialled the COVID caution up higher than most, both in its coverage and internal policies, actively pushing employees to stay at home as late as August of … 2022, a time when most employers were desperate to have bodies in the office.
The Legalise Cannabis Party is determined to replicate its recent Victorian election successes further north. In doing so, the party has turned to former Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, last seen chundering into the Darling River while holding a rotting fish carcass.
But it’s fair to say the relationship between Buckingham and the party he used to represent is rather strained. Buckingham dramatically quit in 2018, following a factional brawl and allegations of sexual harassment aired by Newtown MP Jenny Leong under parliamentary privilege.
He denies the allegations, labelling them a politically motivated stitch-up, and was cleared of wrongdoing by an independent investigation.
As the clock ticked down towards the close of nominations last week, it looked like the Greens and Legalise Cannabis were set to put their Buckingham-shaped differences aside and strike a preference deal.
After all, with both Labor and the Coalition far too terrified of shock-jocks to do anything about drug reform, it’s up to the minor parties to fly the flag for following those hippy-dippy socialists in – checks notes – Missouri and legalise marijuana.
But a shared interest in the devil’s lettuce wasn’t enough to stop that proposed deal unravelling at the 11th hour, we’re told, following intervention from the Greens’ national council.
A party spokesperson told CBD the Greens “had decided not to encourage voters to preference the Legalise Cannabis Party in the upper house”.
“The Legalise Cannabis party is a single-issue party, and we have no knowledge of their position on other matters that are important to the Greens and our supporters.
We are certain that the Greens’ preference recommendation is the best for furthering our progressive agenda in the next parliament, including legalising cannabis.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is keeping awfully busy trying to pull off a Scott Morrison-esque electoral miracle and lead the Coalition to a fourth successive term in government.
But some in Perrottet’s seat of Epping think he’s been far too busy trying to win an election to pay them adequate attention. The final straw was when Perrottet confirmed he wouldn’t show up at a meet-the-candidates debate hosted by the Epping and Beecroft-Cheltenham civic trusts slated for Tuesday night.
Look, we kind of get it. Unlike Labor leader Chris Minns, whose seat of Kogarah is held on a wafer-thin margin, Perrottet has a comfortable 11 per cent buffer. He’s far too busy trying to take on the powerful poker-machine lobby to worry about noise from the M2, or the fate of gang-gang cockatoos and powerful owls in local bushland.
Dominic Perrottet has been accused of not making time for punters in his electorate.Credit:Julian Andrews
Then again, he’s still a first-term local MP in Epping – thanks to arcane Liberal Party squabbling, Perrottet has jumped seats twice. So it may be worth making just a little time for the local punters.
His political rivals certainly seem to think so, with Labor candidate Alan Mascarenhas – who perhaps doesn’t watch much telly – suggesting it was time to put out a summons for the premier, not just his missing brother.
“I seem to be running against a cardboard cut-out when this area badly needs a diligent local MP who’ll show up,” Mascarenhas said.
That cardboard cut-out told CBD he was a “passionate advocate” for the people of Epping, and would provide answers to questions from the debate organisers.
“I am accountable every day to the people of Epping and NSW, fielding questions from journalists at news conference each day,” Perrottet said.
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