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CBD Melbourne: Parody tweeting fires up Keating

The account declares that it is an “an attempt at parody” at the end of its bio section, but to be fair, it’s easy to miss.

Credit:Illustration: John Shakespeare

And, it’s worth noting, many of the insults could plausibly be Keating’s work, given his past form urging the Speaker of the House to administer John Howard a valium; calling adversaries “scumbags” and “maggots”; and recommending then opposition leader Andrew Peacock, who he once referred to as a “perfumed gigolo”, be “put … down like a faithful dog”.

But Keating is not having it. Through his spokeswoman, he has excoriated the US tech giant for not agreeing to his office’s repeated demands to remove the accounts. Twitter, says Keating’s office, argues the accounts are clearly marked as parodies.

“They are purely agents of misrepresentation,” says Keating’s spokeswoman.

“These large platforms lack any appropriate sense of responsibility in being party to their platform being so comprehensively and transparently abused.”

WOOD GETS AIRTIME

Deputy lord mayor Arron Wood is considering a tilt against lord mayor Sally Capp at October’s election, and the ambitious 45-year-old has been urged to run by one of the city’s most influential voices.

Back in 2008, 3AW mornings host Neil Mitchell thought the city’s leadership was lethargic under John So when he publicly encouraged Robert Doyle to enter town hall. Doyle won election and Mitchell’s backing was credited as a key factor in Doyle’s decision to run.

If Wood takes the bold move of running against Capp, which Mitchell says he should, he’ll be hoping for a less, shall we say, controversial time in office.

The former Young Australian of the Year and Prime Minister’s Australian Environmentalist of the Year was once urged by former Premier Jeff Kennett, live on Mitchell’s program, to set his sights on becoming state premier.

Mitchell – whose dominant 195 ratings survey wins since 1990 is rivalled only by the breakfast duo who warm his seat – says Wood has a depth of character suitable for the role.

“It would be good if he ran and if there was a serious challenger,” says the broadcaster.

“Not because the lord mayor isn’t doing a good job, but because challengers are always a good test.”

Wood remains non-committal and says he’s considering all options, including running for lord mayor, leaving politics and focusing on family and business, or – the least likely option – running on another ticket.

If a cushy profile piece in last weekend’s Herald Sun was anything to go by, Wood is creating separation from Capp. He declines to publicly endorse her performance and criticises aspects of her leadership privately.

For Kennett’s part, Wood may need to take his advice to move into the parliamentary ranks in order to win the former premier’s support, because he’s backing Capp for a second term despite his high opinion of Wood.

“She’s led well … [but] that’s not a reflection on Arron,” he says.

TRACKSIDE MOVEMENTS

Flemington Racecourse might be largely closed off to the public during the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of activity inside its committee room.

Recent departures from the not-so-harmonious committee, including lawyer Elisa Robinson in January, followed by Plenary Group chairman John O’Rourke and former PwC partner Peter Fekete in March, have left the board with three casual vacancies to fill. VRC chair Amanda Elliott wrote to some applicants this week to inform them that their bids had been unsuccessful, but noted “the board has almost finalised the three appointments”.

Sources in racing circles have speculated the board’s three picks include Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, Evans and Partner chief executive David Evans and Crown Resorts executive Ann Peacock. On Thursday, both McGuire and a spokesperson for Evans denied they were in the running. Peacock was more circumspect, only stating that she had not been approached and that she was “honoured to be a member of the VRC”.

But the vacancies aren’t the only task on the board’s plate. Elliott announced in March that current chief executive and former IT entrepreneur Neil Wilson would step up to the chairman’s role in December, leaving the CEO position empty. That slot is yet to be filled.

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