Frontbench flatmates find a home away from the house


Sources warned this is not a sign that Cormann plans to depart politics.

Nevertheless, having moved in together for the start of the new parliamentary year, there will be plenty of opportunity for the close political allies to dissect all the awkward anecdotes that are spilling forth from Turnbull downfall pamphlets such as Niki Savva’s Plots and Prayers.

Meanwhile, the truth about what happened in that fateful meeting between Turnbull, Dutton and Cormann after the first failed spill is unlikely to be known.

Dutton claimed on Sky News Australia’s Bad Blood, New Blood, that Turnbull offered him the deputy Liberal leadership in favour of Julie Bishop.

Turnbull denies it happened.

Cormann, for his part, has refused to comment either way.

A MELBOURNE MYSTERY

Meanwhile, Stuart Robert, one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s strongest backers during that period, was rewarded with a senior Cabinet portfolio and the trinkets which come with it.

That includes one official Ministerial Office for all the extra staff (not to mention the departmental computers and secure equipment) required when you are Government Services Minister responsible for everything from Medicare to the National Disability Insurance Agency.

But in a move described by Coalition sources as “bizarre” and “extremely unusual”, Robert has decided not to set up in his home state of Queensland where Commonwealth Parliament Offices are in Brisbane’s Waterfront Place.

Instead, they will be located in Melbourne, at 4 Treasury Place.

Robert, meanwhile, lives on the Gold Coast.

Still, we’re told it’s possible this arrangement would have been put in place because the NDIA is based in Geelong, somewhat closer to Melbourne than Brisbane.

Or it could be that his chief-of-staff Richard Briedis hails from Bleak City.

Nevertheless, we were unable to find any other Morrison government minister who had decided they should base their operations somewhere apart from home.

In fact, having an MO close to home was so important for the then agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce that in 2015 he insisted on moving the office to Armidale despite the cost and a howl of protests from Labor.

Still, we figure Robert, who declined repeated requests to comment and was at once charging taxpayers $2000 a month to connect to the web, may have discovered the internet connection really is faster in Melbourne.

A QUIET MONDAY

Earlier this week we brought you the news of the enterprising lobbyists at Restaurants & Catering Australia who were the first to wine and dine newly arrived Coalition MPs last week.

Loading

Not to be outdone, Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong was spotted chaperoning her party’s newly-arrived Senate colleagues into a private knees-up at Barton fine diner Chairman & Yip on Monday night.

All the new Labor Senate team was there, from former Transport Workers Union secretary Tony Sheldon to Victorian Raff Ciccone (already appointed deputy Labor whip) and NSW Labor Left stalwart Tim Ayres.

Also there, perhaps to read the riot act or simply welcome the new troops: Labor’s Senate leadership comprising home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally, finance spokeswoman Katy Gallagher and whip Anne Urquhart.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie were spotted at the Kingston Hotel, also the venue for a rather serious looking conversation between Liberal senator James McGrath and Senate President Scott Ryan.

Across town, new Liberal senators including David Van and Andrew Bragg were welcomed with a Cormann-hosted dinner at the Lake Burley Griffin waterside venue The Boat House.

BANK ON IT

Then on Tuesday, a curious sight outside the offices of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Ministerial Wing suite just moments after the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate for the second time in two months.

It was ANZ government relations boss Karyn Freeman, perhaps hoping to deliver the good news in person that bank chief Shayne Elliott had decided to pass on the rate cut in full.

Today, we hear Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn will be in Parliament House to take part in a closed-door panel arranged by new Financial Services Minister Jane Hume.

We predict some uncomfortable questions about why his bank didn’t pass on the full cut to customers.

Most Viewed in National

Loading



Source link Finance News Australia

Enter your Email Address

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *