But CBD’s very well placed sources say the idea of Porter scoping out Cunneen for a guernsey on the Federal Court is “total rubbish”.
Indeed, take it from the horse’s mouth – Cunneen tells CBD the murmurings are “fake news”. She also rules out accepting any offer to sit on the forthcoming National Integrity Commission.
“I didn’t leave the government after 42 years to go right back in,” Cunneen says. “I’m not a judge, I’m a barrister.”
She is presently representing former homicide detective Gary Jubelin against charges he illegally recorded conversations during the investigation into the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell.
RESTAURANT A LA ROBB
It was one of the duller scandals of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership: the revelation his tourism minister, Andrew Robb, was part owner of a group of waterside Sydney restaurants.
The problem? At the time, Tourism Australia featured Robb’s Boathouse cafe in Palm Beach as part of a $40 million taxpayer-funded campaign to improve our reputation among international foodies.
It was one of 800 restaurants in the promotion, but Labor’s then tourism spokesman, Anthony Albanese, thundered in question time over the perceived conflict of interest.
Abbott and other senior ministers quickly cleared their man of wrongdoing.
As CBD revealed, the Boathouse group has now been snapped up by developer brothers Ben and Jono Isaac, after a wind-up notice from the ATO forced original owners Andrew and Pip Goldsmith – Mr Robb’s daughter – to look for outside investors.
Maybe what Boathouse’s northern beaches clientele would really dig is a good serve of Robb’s latest investment interest: weight loss shakes.
Global Brands Australia, which Robb chairs, is reportedly trying to drum up cash to buy and list the meal replacement program Celebrity Slim. It’s the sort of new-age stuff that would be a sure-fire around Pittwater.
Robb could even lend a hand in the kitchen now that he’s given up his $900,000-a-year consultancy with Landbridge, the Chinese government-linked leaseholder of Darwin Port. He wasn’t answering calls on Thursday.
LEADING WITH THEIR CHIN
Addressing the parlous state of the economy at the stately Ivy ballroom this week, Westpac boss Brian Hartzer implored us all to hold hands and sing kumbaya, essentially.
“There is no simple answer other than the observation that all of us – governments, regulators, the financial sector and businesses themselves – need to work together to rekindle confidence and fire up the ambition of business leaders to invest in the growth opportunities of the next decade,” he said.
“Recently this collaboration has not been as strong as it needs to be.”
Noble sentiments, to be sure. But this is coming from a bank that has failed to fully pass on the Reserve Bank’s latest two interest rate cuts. Indeed, Hartzer’s mob cut rates the least of the Big Four – by 0.4 per cent rather than the full 0.5 point cut.
How’s that for working together? We can confirm the hypocrisy has been noted in Canberra.
NOT A CHAFF BAG IN SIGHT
Student politics might be a circus but it’s always worth keeping an eye on the Sydney University Liberal Club’s annual fundraiser.
After all, it’s where shock jock Alan Jones infamously quipped that Julia Gillard’s father had “died of shame”, and where Simon Berger – now the Liberals’ deputy federal director – auctioned a “chaff bag jacket” celebrating Jones’ tirade about dragging Gillard out to sea.
This year’s $115-a-head shindig, to be held Saturday night at the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, has a much safer line-up.
Outgoing senator Arthur Sinodinos is the keynote speaker, NSW MP Gareth Ward the MC and federal MP Jason Falinksi the auctioneer – all leading lights of the party’s dominant moderate faction.
They’ll be bidding for lunch with Falinski, a copy of Lazarus Rising signed by John Howard himself, a NSW Blues jersey signed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a copy of the 2019 budget papers signed by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
Kids these days. It’s amazing what gets them excited.
Michael Koziol is a political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.