This week, we reveal the Liberal Party’s candidate for Fisher, the film cameo that could “ruin” Amanda Vanstone’s reputation, and we say farewell to an InDaily legend.
The bald and the beautiful
It’s a sad day for InDaily.
Business editor Kevin Naughton – who has been with InDaily from the beginning – is leaving us.
He’ll be reuniting with his former boss, Investment, Trade and Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith, as chief-of-staff. The pair last worked together in Opposition, a relationship that ended prematurely following the so-called dodgy documents affair.
This time they’ll have their joint hands on some real levers, and less need to look over their shoulders (which is saying something considering the combative past relationship between the pair and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis).
It’s the second back-to-the-future moment in state politics this week, with Andrew Coombe rejoining the Opposition leader’s office as a senior adviser after a stint with Telstra. Coombe left his post as then leader Isobel Redmond’s chief-of-staff in 2012 after an alleged falling out with the boss.
But back to Naughton.
He’s been one of South Australia’s most prolific news-breaking journos, ripping the lids of numerous shonky companies, telling the plain truth about the economy, revealing the inner workings of politics in SA, and using his decades of experience to place modern stories in context.
He’s also penned the odd opinion piece – most of which have ruffled plenty of feathers (including calling for the demolition of the historic Adelaide Oval scoreboard, and this more recent skewering of economist Judith Sloan’s notoriously ill-judged speech to Business SA).
Above all, he’s been utterly fearless in the face of pressure from all directions – including from some of his new colleagues in government.
If the Weatherill Government is looking for boldness (or even baldness), they’ve got their man.
Farewell Naughts – we’ll miss you.
A done deal
Labor’s had a one-week headstart in the seat of Fisher, nominating the well-regarded Nat Cook from the Sammy D Foundation to contest the December 6 byelection following the death of loved independent MP Bob Such.
The Liberals will select their candidate next week, and the preselection contest has attracted a Melbourne Cup field.
In reality, though, it’s a done deal.
The list of candidates includes Sharon Nash, Robert de Jonge, Heath Colebatch, Heidi Harris (who works in MP Duncan McFetridge’s electorate office), Heidi Greaves and Helen Ronson, a local community worker.
All but one of the candidates might as well give up now.
Ronson, whose husband Steve worked for former Liberal minister Mark Brindal and retiring stalwart Iain Evans, is a shoo-in.
She has the support of both Evans and former Howard Government minister Nick Minchin, meaning she will win in a landslide. Of about 80 eligible pre-selectors, around 56 are expected to turn up. Ronson will get about 50 votes.
Game, set, match.
Vanstone’s career-ending moment?
Adelaide surrealist Andrew Baines says his short film, Escape of the Corporate Battery Hens, could puncture Amanda Vanstone’s reputation.
The former diplomat and Howard Government minister does something extraordinarily provocative in the opening scene, Baines told entertaining podcast, Another Boring Thursday Night in Adelaide.
“I’ve got Amanda Vanstone to do something at the beginning of the film that will have everybody up in the arms, laughing and carrying on. It will probably ruin her reputation,” he said.
Baines says Vanstone has been a great patron of his for many years.
The film, to premiere on January 18 next year at the Arts Theatre, also features Opposition Leader Stephen Marshall and his deputy Vickie Chapman doing “bizarre things”.
Baines, in a truly surrealist move, will have a stand at Cheesefest this weekend. Selling art, not cheese.
State political figures sometimes dip their toes into the tepid pool of local government elections, but it is much rarer for federal pollies to get wholeheartedly involved.
However, we hear that one very prominent federal MP has been masterminding an attempt by a party-political team (presented with a suitably non-partisan name) to take over one prominent local council at the upcoming elections.
The local community is on to it – and it probably won’t work as a strategy – but it is an unusual new development for South Australian politics.
Watch this space.
The aforementioned Naughton loves a pun, word-play and double-entendre.
So in his honour we offer this media release joust between South Australia’s Christopher Pyne, the federal education minister, and his shadow, Victorian Labor heavyweight Kim Carr.
If this goes on, InDaily might have to get ourselves one of these.
The Outsider appears in InDaily every Friday, digging into places where we’re not welcome, and probing Adelaide’s obsessions.
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