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23rd of October 2018

Australia News



CBD: Low blows and Hachette men in fight by the book

"Turnbull's boss told him to keep his mouth shut if he ever wanted to get promoted," the book says.

Hachette, the book’s publisher, is apparently refusing to pull the book.

In letters sent to booksellers, his lawyer writes the book contains allegations that are “highly defamatory and wholly untrue”.

He claims a number of allegations against Low are “part of a politically motivated campaign by the present Malaysian government”.

Most amusingly, his lawyer writes his client “does not court publicity in any respect”.

We wonder what’s changed since Low would party with Paris Hilton in Saint-Tropez, splash $42 million to buy Jay Z and Beyonce’s 76th-floor penthouse New York apartment, and appear on Hollywood red carpets with heavyweight film producers?

Could it be the criminal charges filed against Low at the end of August?

Much ado about Upton

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has quite a reputation: for hiding from stakeholder meetings (who could blame her), turning up at the office at 11am after a lengthy stint in the gym, scrutinising which of her staff has had the most to drink on the Christmas bar tab.

What she doesn’t seem to be able to do is make even the simplest decisions.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, pictured here in 2015, has sat on one decision for 351 days.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, pictured here in 2015, has sat on one decision for 351 days.Credit:Simone De Peak

Don’t take it from us, she’s only 337 days late to decide whether to extend heritage orders to a couple of buildings at the Varroville Homestead near Campbelltown.

How long could it possibly take to make a decision? The law says it should take a fortnight.

The poor burghers of Varroville have been waiting since last September!

We should only hope she hasn’t forgotten about it.

It was only last week Upton, who is also the Local Government Minister, appeared to forget the name of the chief executive of Parramatta City Council.

It’s Mark Stapleton, as Office of Local Government boss Timothy Hurst helpfully reminded Upton during last week’s Budget estimates.

Upton’s office told us she is “well aware of the issues at Parramatta City Council”.

Just not the name of the chief executive under investigation.

Gallery whispers and a fight at The Lodge

On Monday, CBD brought you the mystery of Australian Insider and ggii.info, the surprise and surprisingly unproductive Canberra Press Gallery entrant that disappeared earlier this year after failing to pay the bills.

Intrigue in the Canberra Press Gallery, pictured, with the exit of Australian Insider and ggii.info.

Intrigue in the Canberra Press Gallery, pictured, with the exit of Australian Insider and ggii.info.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

(We also reported on the press gallery journalist who appeared with Dame Joan Sutherland in the Donizetti opera Lucia di Lammermoor. We can now confirm a second journalist was once in the chorus line of Carmen at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne.)

At the helm of ggii.info was Roger Hausmann, a Swiss-Australian businessman who had a long association with another press gallery outfit, Keating Media.

Meanwhile, Australian Insider is Jethro Lyo (grandly described as the editor-in-chief/founder of the one-man operation).

We have since been reminded of an incident at then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s very last Christmas drinks at The Lodge in December, when, for reasons unknown, Hausmann and Lyo, who shared an office in Parliament, had one almighty row.

While Turnbull spoke, his then deputy chief-of staff Clive Mathieson watched on as Lyo and Hausmann quarrelled, eventually pushing each other out of view.

Their former office in Parliament is now home to News.com.au while the News Corp Australia bureau is renovated for Sky News Australia’s imminent arrival.

The Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph, with the help of Senate president Scott Ryan, have been granted ageing but exceptional bureaus that overlook the Senate chamber.

The Australian has been banished to Old Parliament House.

A drink with Bill, just $5000

Congratulations are in order for lobbyist David Miles, who scooped a curry night with Prime Minister Scott Morrison (dinner at Kirribilli House cooked by the man himself) at Wednesday's Midwinter Ball charity auction.

Corporate advisor John Connolly won the bidding on the charity auction for a drink with Bill Shorten, pictured here with Scott Morrison at Wednesday's Midwinter Ball.

Corporate advisor John Connolly won the bidding on the charity auction for a drink with Bill Shorten, pictured here with Scott Morrison at Wednesday's Midwinter Ball.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

That went for a cool $12,000.

We heard he just managed to outbid Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

John Connolly, corporate advisor to News Corp chairman Lachlan Murdoch and a number of other big names, won the Midwinter Ball charity auction for drink with Labor leader Bill Shorten and deputy Tanya Plibersek.

The first bottle’s on Bill.

At $5000, the only bid, Connolly scored a bargain.

Kylar is The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age's CBD columnist. He recently covered federal politics, business and NSW politics for News Corp.

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