MAR­GIN CALL

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - WILL GLAS­GOW will.glas­gow@theaus­tralian.com.au CHRIS­TINE LACY chris­tine.lacy@news.com.au

Nei­ther La­bor’s NSW pre­mier turned star can­di­date Kristina Ke­neally nor the Lib­er­als’ ten­nis leg­end in­cum­bent John Alexan­der will vote in the up­com­ing Ben­ne­long by-elec­tion.

The rea­son why is sim­ple: they don’t live in the elec­torate, so Tom Rogers’ Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion won’t al­low them.

Ke­neally — re­cently of Sky News fame — lives just out­side the elec­torate in Trent Zim­mer­man’s seat of North Syd­ney. She and her hus­band Ben Ke­neally moved into the rented Hunters Hill digs last year af­ter they sold their Page­wood home for $2.27 mil­lion in 2015.

But don’t ex­pect the Lib­eral ma­chine to make a lot out of the fact that La­bor’s can­di­date lives about 800m out­side of Ben­ne­long.

Pub­li­can scion Craig Laundy, the Lib­er­als’ mem­ber for the nearby mar­ginal seat of Reid, also lives in Zim­mer­man’s elec­torate (in a $8.3m, three-level Par­ra­matta river­front man­sion).

And then there’s Alexan­der him­self, who as we wrote yes­ter­day has been liv­ing on the other side of the Har­bour with his part­ner Deb­bie Chadwick in her $5.2m Bondi pad.

That’s gone on for al­most eight months, since Alexan­der sold his Put­ney home for $2.7m in March.

As­sum­ing the Bondi res­i­dent is up to date — far from a sure thing — Alexan­der should be reg­is­tered to vote in Mal­colm Turn­bull’s seat of Went­worth, al­though his $4.845m es­tate Iona Park in the South­ern High­lands could place him in Stephen Jones’ seat of Whit­lam.

The NSW Lib­eral di­vi­sion wasn’t able to clar­ify to us yes­ter­day where Alexan­der is reg­is­tered.

Con­sid­er­ing it has taken Alexan­der more than seven years to sort out his cit­i­zen­ship pa­per­work, that’s not a great sur­prise.

Dou­ble Dutch

Sky News boss An­ge­los Fran­gopou­los was on a plane, some­where above the great sandy deserts of West­ern Aus­tralia on his way to a TV con­fer­ence in

Hol­land, when the text came through from Kristina Ke­neally.

The heads-up — de­liv­ered through Emi­rates’ in-flight com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem be­fore break­ing on Fran­gopou­los’s TV net­work — was that Ke­neally’s move to Canberra to host a week­day Sky News po­lit­i­cal anal­y­sis show was off. Ke­neally’s move on John

Alexan­der’s spilled seat of Ben­ne­long was on.

It’s been that sort of year for Fran­gopou­los.

The ca­reer change means he has to make still more changes to Sky News’s 2018 line-up, which had al­ready been com­pletely re­jigged af­ter

Ar­mando Nunez- led CBS’s swoop on Ten, in the process up­end­ing grand plans of a merged Sky-Ten news op­er­a­tion.

By com­par­i­son, this lat­est change is mi­nor stuff. Still, it’s some­thing for the ki­netic TV boss to mull over in be­tween ses­sions at the News Xchange TV con­fer­ence in Am­s­ter­dam over the next two days.

Hand­bags at dawn

Team Garry Houn­sell claimed to be un­trou­bled by bil­lion­aire

Solomon Lew’s lat­est mis­sive to Myer share­hold­ers.

“I would not say it’s quick­en­ing pulses at Myer HQ,” one of chair­man-elect Houn­sell’s lieu­tenants told us.

And, in re­turn, it would seem the bil­lion­aire’s team aren’t too wor­ried about Houn­sell’s in­di­ca­tion that he was con­sid­er­ing a defama­tion case against Lew.

“I’m speak­ing to my lawyers,” Houn­sell told us at Myer’s mar­quee at the Mel­bourne Cup last Tues­day.

That was af­ter Lew said that Houn­sell’s claims that peo­ple close to Lew had sounded him out to be the chair­man of Pre­mier In­vest­ments a decade ago were a “lie and a fabri­ca­tion’’.

The news that Houn­sell was con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion clearly hasn’t trou­bled Lew, who two days later, dou­bled down. “Mr Houn­sell has lied to you,” Lew wrote to his fel­low Myer share­hold­ers.

Many have sued over less, as we know only too well.

For now the em­bat­tled re­tailer wants to keep the fo­cus on its re­cent run of good news: the sup­port of proxy firms CGI Glass Lewis, ISS Gov­er­nance and Own­er­ship Mat­ters, not to men­tion the re­tailer’s sec­ond­largest share­holder, An­ton

Tagli­a­ferro’s In­vestors Mu­tual. So don’t ex­pect Houn­sell to launch any le­gal ac­tion against his 10.8 per cent share­holder — at least this side of Myer’s AGM in Mel­bourne next Fri­day.

Kroger goes nu­clear

Even by the re­cent stan­dards of

Michael Kroger’s Vic­to­ria, the out­look is ex­plo­sive.

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Vic­to­rian Lib­eral pres­i­dent Kroger — with the author­ity of the party’s ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee — on Fri­day sent

Charles Goode and his fel­low Cormack Foun­da­tion di­rec­tors a deed to ar­range ar­bi­tra­tion over their con­tested $70m fund. Kroger, al­ways a man in a hurry, has given them an am­bi­tious timetable. The Cormack crew have been told to agree to the dates, terms and ar­bi­tra­tor for the process by Novem­ber 21 — that is, next Tues­day.

For now Goode, the for­mer ANZ chair­man, and his fel­low di­rec­tors of Cormack, which was un­til this year the Libs’ big­gest donor, haven’t in­di­cated what they will do.

But few at the Lib­eral Party head­quar­ters at 104 Ex­hi­bi­tion Street seem to be­lieve they will meet the timetable Kroger has set for them.

If the Cormack crew don’t, Kroger has the author­ity from his ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee to launch ac­tion in the Fed­eral Court. And we hear that could be­gin as soon as Novem­ber 22 — the day af­ter the ar­bi­tra­tion dead­line. As re­vealed this week in The

Aus­tralian, Kroger has per­son­ally pledged to pay up to $1m in le­gal ex­penses if the party were to lose in that ac­tion.

That would ap­pear to sug­gest both con­fi­dence in his case and the rude health of his per­sonal fi­nances.

It seems whis­pers about Kroger’s losses at The Aus­tralian Club’s Cup Eve Cal­cutta were ex­ag­ger­ated. We al­ways thought $24,000 seemed a big num­ber.

Bush­whacked

State Op­po­si­tion Leader

Matthew Guy will get a sense of what im­pact the Vic­to­rian Lib­eral fam­ily feud is hav­ing on do­na­tions next Fri­day.

Guy — an in­trepid walker who we learned over the week­end gets into the bush when­ever he can — and his shadow cab­i­net are booked in for a fundrais­ing din­ner at the Sof­i­tel, which sits just on the other side of Collins Street from the Mel­bourne Club.

We un­der­stand the Lob­ster Cave was booked out.

De­spite the con­ve­nience to his club, don’t ex­pect Charles

Goode or any of his fel­low Cormack di­rec­tors to pop in for the $175-a-head din­ner.

WILL GLAS­GOW & CHRIS­TINE LACY

John Alexan­der lives miles from Ben­ne­long, while Kristina Ke­neally is a short stroll away

Myer’s Richard Um­bers and Garry Houn­sell on Cup day

Matthew Guy

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