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Blame the lockdowns. At last year’s federal election, Victoria saw its power swell as population growth relative to other states meant it was given an extra parliamentary seat.
Named Hawke, after Australian beer-skolling world champion Bob Hawke, Labor’s Sam Rae picked it up at the poll, having decided to depart his partnership at PwC.
Labor MP Sam Rae.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
But former premier Dan Andrews’ great legacy, making Melbourne lockdown world championship contenders, has put an end to the state’s creeping power.
By encouraging Victorians to flee for the borders, and by clamping down on arrivals through the waves of 2021, the state’s population hasn’t grown as fast as others. In fact, Melbourne’s population growth actually shrank in 2021-22.
The Australian Electoral Commission has taken notice. In July, it ruled the state must now lose what it gained. So, who goes?
Surely the AEC wouldn’t throw the new baby out with the bathwater and get rid of Hawke. That leaves 38 other nervous MPs in Victoria, all worried they’ll suddenly be out of a job.
Those nerves were given an extra jolt this week by venerable psephologist Antony Green, who listed off several likely candidates.
Although Green’s comments are speculative, the prospect of an inner-factional throwdown was exciting enough to have ALP figures sharing the article widely across their WhatsApp groups.
Victoria’s regional seats all look pretty safe, Green wrote; therefore “it is certain that a seat will be abolished in Melbourne”. He named several likely candidates, including Bill Shorten’s Maribyrnong and Peter Khalil’s Wills (“Burke was abolished two decades ago so why not Wills as well?” joked Green).
CBD would never disagree with the great Green, but plenty of MPs certainly do! Maribyrnong has been around more than 100 years and is safe as houses, one told CBD. “Look to the east”, they said, quoting, err, Gandalf.
Whoever loses their seat is unlikely to go down without a fight – and both Shorten and Khalil belong to the same AWU faction. Imagine the fireworks! For what it’s worth, CBD’s money would be on Shorten prevailing – once a Faceless Man, always a Faceless Man.
Sadly, neither Shorten nor Khalil returned CBD’s request for comment.
LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST
Last Friday, Paul Edbrooke, state Labor MP for Frankston, survived a plane crash. On Wednesday, he saved a man’s life. Edbrooke was going skydiving when his plane went down soon after takeoff. He was hospitalised but soon recovered – which turned out to be very good news for someone else.
Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke and the scene of the plane crash at Barwon Heads last Friday.Credit: Wayne Taylor; Nine News
On Wednesday, Edbrooke was driving down Cranbourne Road in Frankston when he got an alert from his GoodSAM app. The app alerts nearby volunteer first-responders when triple zero has been called.
Edbrooke rushed to the scene, which happened to be a nearby Indian restaurant. Inside he found a man in his 60s, not breathing. Edbrooke immediately began administering CPR. The next few moments were a blur, but by the time the paramedics arrived, the man had woken up and was staring Edbrooke in the face.
Edbrooke told 3AW he learnt CPR when working as a firefighter. It was the second time in two years he’d jumped to the rescue. In December 2021 he resuscitated a child who was dragged from a pool lifeless and without a pulse.
“These skills, once you use them a little bit, you just don’t lose them.” Just liking riding a bike. The hosts awarded him two bottles of wine. “No worries. I’d be happy to have a quiet weekend though.”
Yes he’s certainly earned that.
THE BOJO SHOW IS COMING
Former British PM Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson never found time to visit the colonies during his time in office – fair enough, there was a bit on. That did not stop Julie Bishop declaring he had an “unusually close” relationship with the country.
CBD is delighted to bring news that BoJo is finally making his way Down Under. He will give the 11th John Howard Lecture in Sydney on Wednesday, December 13. The event is being run by Liberal-aligned think tank the Menzies Research Centre, with Howard also taking the stage.
Boris Johnson and John HowardCredit: Shakespeare
The centre’s executive director David Hughes said the topics haven’t been set yet.
“We often leave it up to Mr Howard and the individual who will be delivering the lecture. But I think, given he’s a great friend of Australia, instrumental in the AUKUS pact, I think he’s got some significant foreign policy achievements as well,” he told CBD.
“He was the first major foreign leader on the ground in Ukraine. That’s a significant achievement our audience would love to hear perspectives about.”
The centre also managed to secure Bojo’s services for free, which is quite the coup because he does not come cheap – the former PM recently signed an advance with New York-based speakers’ bureau the Harry Walker Agency worth around $4.7 million.
CBD is more interested in if there’s going to be a stunt. A zip-line entry? We’d settle for something close to his 2021 effort before the Confederation of British Industry, where he “extensively praised Peppa Pig World, compared himself to Moses and imitated the noise of an accelerating car,” according to the Guardian.
As Boris himself has said: “My speaking style was criticised by no less an authority than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a low moment, my friends, to have my rhetorical skills denounced by a monosyllabic Austrian cyborg.”
CBD promised that Whitehaven Coal’s Thursday annual general meeting could get spicy. It certainly delivered, with 41 per cent of proxies voting against the company’s remuneration report, amounting to a strike against the board.
Mark Vaile at the Whitehaven Coal annual meeting.Credit: Michael Quelch
A 25 per cent vote against the report at next year’s AGM would trigger a motion to spill the whole board, which is chaired by former deputy prime minister Mark Vaile.
The result follows an aggressive campaign by Bell Rock capital, who’d brought advertising space in office buildings across the Sydney CBD rallying investors to vote against the remuneration report.
Those ads could even be seen in the lobby of Whitehaven’s own George Street headquarters. On Friday morning, after the meeting, the creative messaging changed, with ads now thanking Whitehaven investors for supporting fair shareholder returns.
“The board, and management should heed this warning.”
Sounds ominous indeed.
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