Tax the rich: Dick Smith’s message to Anthony Albanese
CBD is intrigued to learn of the latest item to land on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s desk, a copy of Dick Smith’s memoir My Adventurous Life, sent by the eccentric, folksy entrepreneur and anti-immigration campaigner himself.
Smith told CBD he considered Albanese a mate since the now-PM’s days as infrastructure and transport minister, and felt the book might be up Albanese’s alley.
“I think Albo’s a good bloke, and I reckon he’d appreciate some light reading,” Smith said.
There was even a subtle policy message for the PM. Smith’s book has a chapter called “Don’t Complain About Your Tax,” which is a plea for more taxes on the wealthy.
“I’ve always been pro the wealthy paying more tax,” he said.
“Rich Australians, including myself can and should pay more.”
Smith says he hasn’t heard any feedback from The Lodge, although recently announced tax increases for superannuation balances of over $3 million suggest that even if the PM isn’t listening, he and Dick might be on the same page.
Regardless of Albo’s thoughts, the book has been well-received in some quarters, with a particularly glowing endorsement coming from Paul Hogan, of Crocodile Dundee fame, who described Smith as “part Bear Grylls, part Bill Gates, but 100 per cent Aussie larrikin”.
The backlash in the hospitality industry against a review by food critic John Lethlean is going strong with the owners of Thornbury’s 1800 Lasagne printing a few hundred stickers declaring “Management reserves the right to refuse entry to John Lethlean”.
1800 Lasagne owner Joey Kellock told us that he and his staff didn’t want to be part of a pile-on against an individual and that most of their 35-strong workforce had never heard of Lethlean before the furore over his review had broken out.
But Kellock said they had decided to take their stance because their issues with the article — published and then removed by food site Delicious.com.au and which criticised a young restaurant employee for both her “revealing” attire and professional skills — were so serious.
“I would protect my staff to the death from someone who was commenting on what they were wearing,” Kellock told CBD.
“He [Lethlean] wasn’t reading the room, he wasn’t in the room, he wasn’t even in the house that the room is in, he’s so far out of touch.”
Lethlean shot back at his critics, telling CBD that he called it as he saw it.
“I’m sorry I caused offence but I’m just not interested in the prevailing chatbot-like restaurant industry sycophancy and regurgitated PR puff that passes as commentary these days,” Lethlean told CBD. “The review was seen, and subsequently published, by a Delicious editor — a woman — with no flags raised whatsoever, and yet… Context is everything.
“Restaurant reviewing is about observation, commentary and the reader. I conveyed what I observed. I don’t write for the industry, I write for consumers, and if a few of the so-called journalists in this space did the same, they might have long careers too.”
Delicious editor Kerrie McCallum has been contacted for comment and has not responded.
Former Bill Shorten chief of staff Ryan Liddell’s lobbying shop has been raking in high-profile clients since the election.
Liddell is doing so well that he can work free of charge, with recently-crowned Australian of the Year and body positivity activist Taryn Brumfitt registered as a pro bono client last month.
Does an Australian of the Year, with all their fancy ribbon cuttings and access to the most powerful rooms in the country really need the services of parliamentary door openers? It turns, out quite possibly.
The duo, who live around the corner from each other in Adelaide, were connected because, despite her high profile, winners like Brumfitt get no real administrative support or assistance in handling the media glare, or navigating the corridors of power.
Liddell says he’s keen to help Brumfitt connect with people in parliament, as he did for previous winner Dylan Alcott. The Instagram advocate might need a bit of help winning over sceptics – her announcement incited plenty of smug grumbling among a few grumpy old men of journalism.
With the Liberals out of office everywhere except NSW and Tassie, jobs for party sympathisers are not thick on the ground, so it’s no surprise that the position of Liberal Party state director for Victoria — up for grabs after Taswegian Sam McQuestin quit the mainland — has attracted an interesting field of contenders
The hire is ultimately a decision for the party’s administrative committee, but an executive search party has been formed with president Greg Mirabella, vice-presidents Holly Byrne, Amanda Millar, Anthony Mitchell and Tony Schneider — assisted by state leader John Pesutto and federal rep Dan Tehan.
In the mix is respected Catholic Church executive Mike Poutney who we’re told is a nose in front of former frontbencher Louise Staley who lost her seat in last November’s election flogging.
Also in with a shout is West Australian director Stuart Smith who has the backing of John Howard’s former chief of staff Tony Nutt.
Stuck in the gates is Newcastle boy Simon Westaway — the caravan industry lobbyist, not the actor — husband of former NSW upper house candidate Rachel Westaway, and who might be lacking local credentials.
But CBD hears whispers of a star international recruit with a strong understanding of politics Down Under. When we know more, you will.
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