Home » Julie Bishop’s back in black, but not at the budget

Julie Bishop’s back in black, but not at the budget

Bishop has another side hustle, as a strategic adviser to $15 billion miner Mineral Resources, which had the former pollie starring in an employee induction video a few years back alongside minor celebs like Hugh Jackman.

She’s also on the advisory board of privately owned Brisbane miner Controlled Thermal Resources, and let’s not mention the little black spot on her resume that is the failed financier Greensill Capital, where she was a senior adviser.

ABC IS ‘TOO BLAND’: WHAT CHAIRMAN SAYS IN PRIVATE

Ex-News Corp boss Kim Williams looks to be off to a flyer in his first months as ABC chairman – as in, there have not yet been any disasters on his watch.

And he certainly picked up a warmish reaction from ABC Friends, usually a tough crowd, after he hosted the group’s vice-president, Carol Stuart, and national president, Cassandra Parkinson, for a meeting in Sydney last month.

All sounds very nice, and Stuart, in the report-back to her fellow friends she posted on the group’s website, was very forthcoming about the chat that was had.

But it’s not clear to us that Williams would have been keen for the world to know that he told the friends that the broadcaster had become “too bland”.

Kim Williams had a sit-down with ABC Friends recently.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Or that he considered the corporation’s five-year plan that caused such a kerfuffle last year to be a “PR statement”. That would be the not yet one-year-old plan touted as the first step towards the ABC’s digital future.

There were a couple of other bits in there that we would have paused for thought before making public, including Williams saying he didn’t believe the ABC would get more money out of government until it “changed the conversation with Australian people”, according to Stuart’s account.

Makes you wonder what he reckons has been going wrong until now.

We also wonder if Williams has shared with the city slickers on his board his desire, reported by Stuart, that half their meetings be held outside of Sydney, and indeed how directors reacted to the news.

But, y’know, people can get the wrong end of the stick sometimes, so we gave both Williams and Aunty’s mighty publicity machine a hoi on Wednesday evening to ask if he’d really said all those things and, if so, did he expect Stuart to put the whole thing on the internet. The ABC replied with a “no comment”.

HARD LABOR

CBD must stifle a guffaw when we hear Treasurer Jim Chalmers claim that Tuesday night’s big-spending budget is not an election pitch.

Why, the man is already acting like he’s in campaign mode, with his boss Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher aiding and abetting with, well, some gusto.

Loading

Just take a look at the trio’s media schedule, helpfully passed out by the PM’s office, which wanted the world to know how hard its man was working on selling the budget.

So let’s see … the prime minister was up with the larks on Wednesday for a 2SM radio slot at 6.20am, he was on Sky News at 7, and Nine’s Today show at 10 past. By 7.30, Albanese was showing his mug on ABC News Breakfast and he was on Seven’s Sunrise just 10 minutes later, Fox FM Melbourne at 8.05, KISS FM at 8.35, Triple M Adelaide at 8.50 and then Nova in Perth at 9.05.

Albo then did Channel Ten news at noon and Triple J’s Hack at 5.30pm.

Our favourite moment in all of that was Fox’s Brendan Fevola proving that he was still, well, Brendan Fevola, by asking the PM if the national debt couldn’t just be wiped away.“Can’t you just wipe it and everyone start again?”

Anyway, Chalmers was not to be outdone by the boss, notching up 10 radio and TV appearances by 9.15AM and going on Channel 10 news, addressing the National Press Club – those gigs can be tough – and then going on The Project in the evening.

Chalmers, interestingly enough, stuck to the AM stations, while Albanese braved the forensic questioning of the likes of Fevola and KISS FM’s chief economic brains, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O.

That tells us much about what Labor planners think of the respective electoral appeal of their two frontmen.

Now, we hate to talk about lifters and leaners, not after what happened to poor old Joe Hockey when he tried that one out on a memorable budget evening in 2015, but Katy Gallagher’s workload on Wednesday looked comparatively light, with four morning radio slots and a speech in the evening.

However, even half that effort would send either one of your work-shy CBD-sters straight to the knacker’s yard.

Loading

WOMEN OF THE HOUSE

That speech we mentioned from Gallagher on Wednesday night was delivered in the Great Hall of Parliament House to a budget dinner put on by the Future Women advocacy group and sponsored by La Trobe Financial.

Future Women managing director Helen McCabe assembled a decent room for the evening, with some panel moderation by Nine’s very own Tory Maguire, and a bunch of Canberra’s big hitters present. The event was held for the first time in the prestigious space.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Sports Minister Anika Wells were also representing the Albanese frontbench, sitting down to dinner with some of the Australian public service’s high flyers: Finance Department secretary Jenny Wilkinson, Employment Department boss Natalie James, Veterans’ Affairs secretary Alison Frame and Australian Secret Intelligence Service chief Kerri Hartland.

Joining Gallagher at the podium was Queensland’s first female premier, Anna Bligh, and at the tables were crossbench MPs Zali Steggall, Zoe Daniel and Kate Chaney.

Now, this affair – more than 400 powerful women in parliament’s biggest space, where most events are a sea of grey men in grey suits – has to be noted as a breath of fresh air around the joint and hopefully a sign that things are finally changing up there.

Get the day’s breaking news, entertainment ideas and a long read to enjoy. Sign up to receive our Evening Edition newsletter.