Mar­garet goes to Macca

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE -

WELL-known crown pros­e­cu­tor Mar­garet Cun­neen is un­der­stood to be in talks to rep­re­sent jailed La­bor min­is­ter Ian Macdon­ald in what is set to be­come one of Syd­ney’s ex­plo­sive court cases next year. Cun­nee Cun­neen, who leaves the Offi Of­fice of Di­rec­tor of Pu Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions t this year, did not re­ply to an email from The Sauce, but is un­der­stood to have been a ap­proached by the Macdon­ald Ma camp. Should Shoul she go ahead, Cun­neen would ef­fec­tively be pit­ted against her old work­place, while also chal­leng­ing the find­ings of the NSW In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion Against Cor­rup­tion (ICAC), which led to the coal li­cence con­spir­acy charges Macdon­ald and fel­low jailed La­bor min­is­ter Ed­die Obeid will face in the May trial.

There is no love lost be­tween Cun­neen and ICAC af­ter she suc­cess­fully took the watch­dog to the High Court. Cun­neen ac­cused ICAC of ex­ceed­ing its au­thor­ity by launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her ac­tions af­ter a car crash in­volv­ing the girl­friend of one of her sons. The court found Cun­neen’s ac­tions did not amount to cor­rupt con­duct and or­dered ICAC to pay costs.

Both Macdon­ald and Obeid as well as Ed­die’s son Moses have en­tered not-guilty pleas of con­spir­ing over a grant of a coal ex­plo­ration li­cence at Mount Penny in the By­long Val­ley. The Sauce hears the for­mer min­is­ters and Moses will not be the only par­ties in the trial, with dozens of wit­nesses to be called, in­clud­ing sev­eral se­nior Lib­eral fig­ures.

NA­TION­ALS KNEES- UP

NA­TIONAL Party mem­bers ap­pear to have put their dif­fer­ences aside for one week, be­cause, well, it’s Christ­mas. Af­ter a year of lead­er­ship ten­sions trig­gered by Barn­aby Joyce’s ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, Na­tion­als whip Damian “Drummy” Drum (be­low) de­cided to take mat­ters into his own hands.

At the closed-door Christ­mas party in Can­berra on Tues­day night, the AFL coach-turned-MP dished out gongs to col­leagues to lighten the mood. For­mer leader Joyce was given the Steven Smith award be­cause, like the Aussie crick­eter, he once was a leader but has now been ban­ished.

Out­spo­ken Queens­land Se­na­tor Barry O’Sul­li­van, who has been strangely ab­sent from party room meet­ings since los­ing his Se­nate pre­s­e­lec­tion, was given the Google Maps award. Col­leagues hope the il­lus­tri­ous gong will en­cour­age him to look up direc­tions to the party room in the new year.

Not done with his foot­ball an­tics, Drummy de­cided to rev up the Coali­tion troops fol­low­ing a joint party meet­ing last week. He asked his col­leagues to stand and chant “If you act en­thu­si­as­tic, you’ll be en­thu­si­as­tic”.

A for­mer coach of Drum’s had once de­manded his play­ers do the same and he be­lieved it lifted their spir­its. The Sauce un­der­stands a few Coali­tion MPs jumped to their feet and broke into a jig. Oth­ers weren’t so con­vinced.

STA­DIUM WAR KIT

JUST when most pol­lies are count­ing down the days to a sum­mer break be­fore the start of the March state elec­tion cam­paign, La­bor is ramp­ing up its sta­dium war with the Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment.

Party can­di­dates and MPs were last week sent a sta­dium strat­egy ac­tion pack to be used to turn up the heat on the gov­ern­ment over its “$2.2 bil­lion splurge”.

The kit — ob­tained by The Sauce — in­cludes “pledge cards” for vot­ers to sign their sup­port for the La­bor pol­icy, with an over­sized one set aside to be used in me­dia photo opps with na­tional MPs. The kit also in­cludes a se­ries of graph­ics to be posted to so­cial me­dia, and links to La­bor’s reed­ited video of the Lib­eral Party’s “Let’s Get This Done” ad re­leased last week.

Can­di­dates and MPs are also urged to stage a de­bate on sta­di­ums by send­ing out a me­dia re­lease chal­leng­ing “the premier, deputy premier or lo­cal Coali­tion can­di­date” to take part. So much for a pre-elec­tion va­cay.

SOME VIN­TAGE PRIZES

LONG be­fore dis­graced La­bor leader Luke Fo­ley was to fall on his sword over al­le­ga­tions he in­ap­pro­pri­ately touched an ABC jour­nal­ist, the out­go­ing Auburn MP for­tu­itously au­to­graphed four bot­tles of NSW par­lia­men­tary wine as part of the party’s an­nual Christ­mas raf­fle.

Given the bot­tles are now set to be­come col­lecta­bles — along with for­mer premier Barry O’Far­rell’s $3000 Grange — the party will be hop­ing the raf­fle is a sell­out. For those who miss out, there is al­ways the “Bill for PM” poster, an “It’s Time” poster signed by Gough Whit­lam and, wait for it, a Sun­beam Cord­less Ket­tle. With tick­ets cost­ing a fiver, bet­ter be quick.

GHOST CALLS

AF­TER weeks of ru­mours that Mal­colm Turn­bull was en­gaged in ac­tive sab­o­tage of the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment, it was Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Matt Kean who was to con­firm as much af­ter de­tails of a terse Sun­day night phone call be­tween him­self and “The Mis­er­able Ghost” be­came pub­lic on Mon­day. The Aus­tralian re­vealed how Turn­bull had called the mod­er­ate power­bro­ker and Lib­eral State Ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber to urge him to re­ject the plan to save back­bencher Craig Kelly to force the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment to an early elec­tion.

Had the ex­ec­u­tive not in­ter­vened, Kelly would have faced al­most cer­tain de­feat should hould he have been forced to go to a pre­s­e­lec­tion against favourite Kent Johns. Ac­cord­ing to de­tails of the con­ver­sa­tion re­layed to The Sauce, Kean copped a spray from Mal­colm, who ac­cused the mod­er­ates of be­ing “weak”. eak”

“The mod­er­ates will roll over like they al­ways do,” Turn­bull (pic­tured right) al­legedly said, to which Kean replied: “Don’t lec­ture me about the mod­er­ates be­ing weak and rolling over when you al­lowed Pe­ter Dut­ton and the right wing to run your gov­ern­ment.”

The Sauce un­der­stands Turn­bull, who clearly mis­judged Kean’s loy­alty to the party, called the Fair Trad­ing Min­is­ter “mul­ti­ple times” af­ter the phone con­ver­sa­tion was made pub­lic.

THAT’S A BIG SCO- NO

COALI­TION staff have been ad­vised to bury the PM’s name in press re­leases af­ter it failed to rate. In re­cent weeks, of­fi­cial pressers from min­is­ters have used the phrase “The Lib­eral-Na­tional Gov­ern­ment” not the “Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment” when flog­ging poli­cies. The shift has raised the eye­brows of for­mer Turn­bull staffers who have told The Sauce they al­ways name-checked the for­mer PM be­cause fo­cus group re­port­edly re­sponded well to Brand Turnb Turn­bull. Al­most a year af­ter Ba Barn­aby Joyce and the N Na­tion­als were ac­cused of dam­ag­ing the gov­ern­ment, it seems the Lib­er­als are re­liant on them for help.

SOME­ONE, S ANY­ONE? AN

AF­TER NSW Na­tion­als Orange can­di­date Yvette Quinn stood down fol­low­ing re­quests from a prom­i­nent MP’s wife and a fel­low fe­male MP, it seems of­fi­cials are strug­gling to find a re­place­ment. In a let­ter sent to party mem­bers on Fri­day, of­fi­cials con­firmed nom­i­na­tions re­mained open while not­ing for­mer nom­i­nees had been ruled in­el­i­gi­ble. “Please en­cour­age any in­ter­ested mem­bers you know to put their hat in the ring,” it said.

Coota­mundra Shoot­ers can­di­date Matt Stadt­miller with a gre grey­hound yhound pupup­pyppppy wathatthat­waswa put up for raf­fle.

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