Women work in more collaborative ways
Money buys me love. A brief detente in the war between the Morrison government and the energy sector came just in time for the Liberal Party’s $3500 a-head fundraiser on Tuesday night.
On the menu behind closed doors at Hyatt Canberra’s Centenary room: some good old money-canbuy plain speaking with Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
Present for that warm embrace was a low-level but loyal crowd of just over a dozen people, including dinner hosts Caltex, that brought four of their heavy hitters.
They were led by the company’s new chief lobbyist Todd Loydell, its government affairs adviser Philip Skinner and corporate affairs boss Elizabeth Rex.
Also along: Woodside Energy’s new lobbyist, recent Canberra arrival Graham Dodds and Australian Pipelines and Gas Association chief executive Steve Davies.
A few thoughts gleaned from Taylor – not the life of a party but a really decent bloke, according to an overheard conversation between former prime minister Tony Abbott and The Australian’s national affairs editor Simon Benson.
There was agreement NSW Labor leader Michael Daley is cutting through with his campaign pitting schools and hospitals against Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s stadium plan, an admission bound to go down about as well as a busted preselection race in Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s books.
However, Taylor thinks Berejiklian will win the March election, in part due to a massive infrastructure program in Sydney’s west and the new Western Sydney Airport.
Second, a glimmer of hope for the Coalition after Labor passed the medevac legislation – simultaneously trashing 109 years of precedent according to Christopher Pyne and no big deal according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison – hours before the dinner.
And some food for thought on energy: targets and commercial decisions will take care of emission reductions, ruling out any need for a government-mandated mechanism.
Despite warnings the government’s legislative defeat that evening was the worst crisis since the New Model Army of 1648, no end of Coalition and Labor MPs hit the town on Tuesday.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire headlined the commercial radio lobby’s Parliament knees-up, even hosting rival Jeff Kennett, Hawthorn president, who had his own event down the hall.
We counted Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the crowd along with radio legend Derryn Hinch.
Liberal MPs Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson kept company with some News Corp scribes at China Plate in Kingston, Labor MPs Terri Butler and Andrew Giles were spotted at QT Hotel’s Capitol Grill, as were their colleagues Kristina Keneally and (separately) Ed Husic.
Meanwhile, ex-Transport Workers Union boss and Labor Senate certainty Tony Sheldon had a beer (or more) with West Australian senator Glenn Sterle at the Kingston Hotel.
Seen yesterday, Liberal hopeful (former Liberal Democrat, former Labor president) Warren Mundine with John Hewson (and later Labor MP Michael Danby) at Capital Hill canteen Aussies, and Pfizer Australia managing director Melissa McGregor and Telstra lobbyist Ramah Sakul at the National Press Club to hear Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King.
And after the painful extraction of National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry, the bank’s new government relations boss Philippa King – previously Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign adviser – made her first trip to Canberra in her new job.