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CBD Melbourne: Shorten’s Bintang there, and done that

We hear Shorten did make the time to phone in for the meeting during which Labor frontbenchers hashed out their tactics for the looming fight over tax cuts.

Shorten is due back later this week. His trip to Bali did overlap a separate Morrison family vacation in Fiji.

Meanwhile, others are not wasting any time planning their schedules for the sitting week.

First cab off the rank: Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Assistant Customs Minister Jason Wood, who will spend next Tuesday evening hosting a $1500-a-head event in the Members’ Dining Room at Parliament House.

“This is going to be an exciting first week of the new Scott Morrison Government and this is your opportunity to be involved in that excitement,” the invite reads.

STAR CHAMBER’S HOT RECRUIT

Meanwhile, with Tony Nutt’s job running Morrison’s staffing committee (the so-called “star chamber”) almost done, it appears he’s saved the best for last.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne welcomes Justin Bassi as her chief of staff, fresh from assignment in Morrison’s Office of National Intelligence.

Before heading to the agency headed by director-general Nick Warner, Bassi was Malcolm Turnbull’s national security advisor and previously a cyber security expert in the Attorney-General’s Department under current British High Commissioner George Brandis.

Bassi was known to be close to Brandis, and was one of the key architects for the controversial data retention legislation the government introduced at the time.

It was during that debate that Brandis, then attorney general, quipped Bassi was wearing CIA cufflinks in the Senate “just to feed the paranoia of Senator (Scott) Ludlam over there”.

NOT YET A CODA FOR KODARI

Man about Sydney and Chifley Square operator Michael Kodari tells us his outfit allows clients to gain access “to not just one, but an entire team of experienced professionals”.

Alas, when it comes to employee relations, Kodari appears to be having a hard time.

Our friends at The Australian Financial Review yesterday reported bodyguard turned chief operating officer Steven Tran was not happy about being removed from the gold-tinted KOSEC Kodari Securities offices, so he sued and won $151,000.

Now Kodari is down one further member of his team of experienced professionals, with the departure of his long-time deputy Laurence Parker-Brown.

Parker-Brown became the senior economist at iQ Group in March. He had previously worked at Kodari’s shop for more than three years, rising to senior vice-president.

Parker-Brown has since scrubbed Kodari Securities from his LinkedIn page, instead advising of his employment at a “corporate financial advisory services firm”.

And as we well know, Kodari is nothing if not forthright.

He tells us Parker-Brown “wanted to move into a position that better suited his skill set”.

“I am not sure why he hasn’t got us on his LinkedIn page, it wasn’t like we asked him to give back the ROLEX that was gifted,” he added.

SHORT OF SAUCE, TREASURY GOES HUNTING

Times are clearly tough at Treasury Wine Estates.

The Michael Clarke-led booze outfit’s has decided to pursue former Asia boss Peter Dixon in Victoria’s Supreme Court for $1.2 million.

Courts documents reveal the company is chasing Dixon for cash he apparently netted by selling company shares awarded to him as a long-term incentive, about six months before he resigned to take a job with competitor Accolade Wines.

The company alleges that there were several clauses in his contract which outlined situations in which he would be required him to hand over any profits he made by selling company shares.

The writ also includes details of how the executive received a series of written warnings in the lead up to his departure, including allegedly getting sauced at a work bash.

Dixon, who is Accolade’s Regional Managing Director – Asia, was overseas when CBD contacted its South Australian office on Monday afternoon. He did not respond to questions in time for deadline.

A close friend of Dixon’s came out with retort: “It is disappointing that Treasury is playing what is ultimately a commercial fight about dollars this way, suffice to say that its clearly more complex than it looks and its interesting he was promoted various times by Treasury since this all started.”

His departure in March 2018 came just one month after Treasury’s board showed its global chief operating officer Robert Foye the door, amid what the company called an alleged breach of its internal code of conduct.

The details of Foye’s exit still remain a state secret.

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