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Stan Grant publishes takedown of Peter FitzSimons

Journalists Stan Grant and Peter FitzSimons.

Journalists Stan Grant and Peter FitzSimons.Credit:John Shakespeare

“Everyone there voted yes for same-sex marriage — the year ­before last, they’d all tearily ­applauded their first gay married couple guests — they hated the Catholic Church and had cried when Kevin Rudd said sorry.”

Grant’s takedown appeared without the decency of a warning. The pair didn’t speak in the aftermath but did exchange angry texts. Both sounded nonplussed when CBD called.

“It’s fiction, it’s satire. Have a laugh. I mock myself as much as anyone else in it,” Grant said, before hastening off the phone.

“I will leave it for others to judge,” FitzSimons said, before hastening off the phone.

Clash of the titans or clash of the titanic egos?

State of play

Last Sunday conservative federal MP Kevin Andrews was ousted by commando-turned-barrister Keith Wolahan for the prized safe Victorian federal seat of Menzies. It was a bad start to the week for the Victorian Liberal Party factional alliance led by Michael Kroger, Michael Sukkar and Josh Frydenberg.

And at Friday’s meeting of the party’s state assembly, it was a bad end to the week as well.

The party of the broad church fittingly met at Scots’ Church in Melbourne. The main agenda item was to elect two casual vacancies to the party’s administrative committee, after Kroger faction committee member Jean Hawkins resigned and factional colleague Ivan Stratov moved to the Ukraine for a Mormon religious mission. Like we said, a broad church.

But the factional grouping’s two replacement candidates were soundly defeated by candidates loyal to the alliance headed by state president Robert Clark. Kate Oski, who couldn’t contest the 2019 election over dual citizenship concerns, lost to Indian-born engineer Shilpa Hegde (49 to 72), while Dinesh Gourisetty, owner of Indi Hots Catering in Hoppers Crossing, lost to Anthony Mitchell, failed candidate for Gellibrand at the last election (38 to 61).

Given the winners must recontest the positions when the interminably-delayed State Council is held under COVID-safe conditions, possibly in two months, it’s a minor victory in the scheme of things. But the optics look pretty bad.

Full frontal

Pugnacious Queensland senator Pauline Hanson unnerved fellow travellers inside Brisbane Airport’s domestic arrivals hall on Friday as she attended the baggage carousel sans mask. Hanson had been in Federal Parliament for the sitting week and flew to Brisbane directly from Canberra. Presumably, she didn’t take too kindly to a national cabinet directive in January which made masks mandatory on all flights and in all Australian airports.

Hanson has been an outspoken critic of social distancing and called a raft of public health initiatives to minimise the spread of COVID “over the top”. On Sunday, Hanson was less enthusiastic to share her views. A representative did not return calls and emails for comment.

Popularity contest

It’s less than a week since ALP Leader Anthony Albanese rearranged the deck chairs inside his opposition cabinet. Changes included appointing Kristina Keneally as Labor’s spokeswoman on government accountability. The NSW senator – also Labor’s Home Affairs spokesperson – is taking her new role very seriously, filing numerous disclosures covering the various gifts received last year.

Most were very bad: The Conversation’s essay collection The Year that Changed Us; a Grandma’s Pudding from CropLife Australia; the Port of Brisbane provided a copy of The Port of Brisbane, its People, and its Personalities; and Catholic Health Australia sent three lapel pins to mark World Day of the Sick.

But some very good: The Consul General of Bangladesh sent a bottle of Moet & Chandon to help enliven some publications from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and a blue trinket box was provided by the Jewish National Fund of Australia.

Pollies aren’t required to disclose gifts worth less than $300, which makes the registration of a T-shirt from the Health Services Union curious until you remember that later this year Keneally squares off against veteran Deb O’Neill for top billing on the NSW Senate ticket. And really, there is no point in being modest about your support base.

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