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SLAMMED: John Alexander’s ugly spat with tennis club likely to hit his candidacy

alexanderliberal Bennelong is a seat the Liberals need to win back to make Tony Abbott Prime Minister.

The party preselection saw a tough contest between former tennis ace and property developer John Alexander and local Chinese businessman Mark Chan that was ultimately convincingly won by Alexander with 67 votes of a total of 105.

Broadly, the Liberal Left was supporting Alexander and the Right supported young ex-student politician from Sydney Uni Mark Chan. It appears the so-called “Hard Right” directed some of their votes towards Alexander, reflecting the current strained relationships in the Right between forces aligned with Alex Hawke and those aligned with David Clarke.

Those opposed to Alexander say that his candidacy is a “time-bomb waiting to explode.”

“He thinks that being a tennis star will wash away the stink from his business dealings. It doesn’t work that way.”

They point to highly controversial dealings between John Alexander and the White City Tennis Club where members of that club say he acted unlawfully and unethically. This website explains the ugly feud from their highly biased perspective.

The site claims the NSW courts have criticised Alexander for engaging in “unconscionable” behaviour, that he’d failed in his fiduciary duties and been one of the “primary wrongdoers” in a deal that went wrong.

Now the parties are fighting over control of the land as it has appreciated considerably since the time Alexander effectively bought it from the White City Tennis Club.

Liberals told VEXNEWS yesterday that the controversy would be enough to enable Labor’s Maxine McKew to give Alexander an almighty serve.

And McKew was quick to give Alexander a backhander last night, declaring:

“I also note that Mr Alexander’s property interests have seen him involved in a protracted court case. I hope these issues can be resolved quickly because I can assure him the people of Bennelong deserve and will expect nothing less than his full attention.”

While we acknowledge it as a cruel injustice, an involvement in the property development and real estate industries is not always conducive to a career in politics. It is perhaps considered a slightly sleazier profession than ‘journalist’. Slightly.

And it seems that Alexander’s foray into developing the former home of tennis in Sydney has pitted him against a community organisation in expensive and ugly litigation. Members complain:

After evicting the 1400- member club from its traditional Paddington clubhouse in November, Mr Alexander has been accused of making demands that could send club members broke by asking them to pay for repairs the club estimates will cost up to $1 million.

Regardless of the eventual result of the litigation, it seems certain that Alexander’s foes will haunt him politically should he emerge as the Liberal candidate in Bennelong.

The NSW Court of Appeal decided in June this year that Alexander had been in breach of his agreement with the White City Tennis Club, and ordered that he return the property to the club. Since that decision, Alexander and his partners have taken the case to the High Court on appeal and are still awaiting a decision.

During Alexander’s control of the site, he caused the members considerable angst, they say:

Its members claimed had treated them as trespassers on the grounds since an agreement between them broke down. Members could only walk to the courts on paths marked in red and were banned from using the showers and toilets after their games.

The developer may have been within his rights to do this but it’s not exactly the ideal conduct for a marginal seat candidate.

Party members said it was inevitable Alexander would be asked questions about his role in shafting the White City Tennis Club yesterday evening.

Liberal insiders say that most of Alexander’s support comes – appropriately enough – from a favourable draw from among the State Council.

Most of the locals favour popular local businessman Mark Chan who has worked very hard for the party over a number of years. Chan’s extensive community links could work strongly in the party’s favour, insiders say. By contrast Alexander has only recently joined the party in order to unsuccessfully contest a couple of preselections and does not live in the electorate.

The Bennelong area is not a centre of factional operations for either camp, so most of the locals will be making a decision on who is most likely to serve the party best locally.

Alexander reportedly reached out to David Clarke aligned selectors who were looking for a reason to knife Chan or some of his backers in the Right. He needed the Clarke Right’s support in order to win.

Now that he’s the Liberal candidate, he’ll need some top spin to hit his way out of his colourful commercial past.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The David Clarke group claim around 10 votes of the total and appear to be the “swing votes” in the contest. With their support, Chan backers say, he’ll be up by eight votes, without them, a narrow loss is likely. But as previously noted, it’s a non-factional area, with swinging votes all over the place.

Chan has had a history of unlikely electoral success, with old chums recalling today his triumphant  ”99% of Australians like spring rolls, Mark Chan likes spring rolls, Vote 1 Mark Chan” win at Sydney University, so if anyone can win tonight, Chan can.

11.30PM UPDATE: John Alexander wins comfortably… with 67 votes in the first round.


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  1. Well of course it is my decision.

    Posted by Alex Hawke | December 16, 2009, 11:56
  2. Why didnt I get promoted ?

    Posted by Alex Hork | December 16, 2009, 12:17
  3. I am not sure if we want a sexist bigot like Mark Chan representing the good people of Bennelong.

    We all remember his comments at the Young Liberal v Labor parliamentary debate earlier this year.

    I think the words were “you can stimulate my package any day”. After being warned by Tanya Gadiel Chan persisted on uttering the remarks this time to a male member of the Young Libs.

    If he cant hold himself in a Young Liberal/Young Labor debate how can he be expected to cope in the Federal Parliament ?

    Posted by Bennelong Voter | December 16, 2009, 12:24
  4. Let’s put a 25 year old Mark Chan into Parliament! He has zero people skills, zero charisma, and is a shocker.

    He was a big Turnbull supporter, but left us and now a big Abbott supporter.

    No loyalty, just ambition.

    Posted by Fred | December 16, 2009, 12:27
  5. It’s not fair. I tried so hard to get that promotion. I thought Malcolm was still going to be leader.

    Posted by Alex Honk | December 16, 2009, 12:31
  6. Mark Chan can stimulate my package if he wants to meet at the Wahroonga public facilities.

    Posted by Byron Moron | December 16, 2009, 12:34
  7. How can anything said in a Young Liberal vs Young Labor debate be taken seriously?

    Posted by addy | December 16, 2009, 12:35
  8. Everyone knows that Chan is a sleaze. There’s no way that he could win Bennelong.

    Posted by Tell it like it is | December 16, 2009, 12:37
  9. Who Cares I do not recolect ever
    seeing him win a match let alone a
    title. If he is as good at politics as he was with tennis he would be a dead loss

    Posted by Argus Tuft | December 16, 2009, 12:39
  10. Game set match.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 16, 2009, 13:06
  11. Andrew is spot on when he says the David Clarke right have it in for Chan and are teaming up with the left. Why be vindictive against Chan when he is clearly the best candidate. A better orator, intellect, community person, charismatic (I respectfully disagree with you Fred), and a lifelong liberal who lives and breathes Bennelong. Everyone should be getting behind him. Beat Maxine – yes he chan

    With regards to age, Pyne was 25 going into Parliament, Ellis 27, Frazer 23 and Springborg in QLD just 21 – factions aside, all of these members have made great contributions to public life and hopefully one day so will Mark.

    Posted by A real howard patriot | December 16, 2009, 13:14
  12. haha borg made a signficant contribution pig’s ar**

    Posted by anon | December 16, 2009, 13:18
  13. Clearly John Alexander lives and breathes Bennelong as well if he runs an Aquatic centre in Ryde.

    Posted by Tell it like it is | December 16, 2009, 13:24
  14. Lives and breathes Bennelong… that’s why he was hell bent on running for Bradfield just a few weeks ago?

    Posted by Tell like it is now, not like it was two months ago | December 16, 2009, 13:32
  15. whatever advantage Mark Chan may superficially have from his Chinese surname will quickly be neutralised when another young Asian councillor from Ryde may run as an independent candidate

    Posted by Bennelong local | December 16, 2009, 13:38
  16. To “a real Howard Patriot”:

    I think its a bit baseless to talk about the Clarke right teaming up with the left after Bradfield.

    Posted by Howard Patriot | December 16, 2009, 13:39
  17. Teaming up with the left? Isn’t that what Alex Hawke has been doing since 2007?

    Posted by Tell it like it is | December 16, 2009, 13:48
  18. Thanks for the business Chany!

    Posted by Red Light Worker | December 16, 2009, 13:56
  19. I thought that Pyne would be a reason for stopping young guns entering parliament.

    Posted by The Bath House Faction. | December 16, 2009, 14:07
  20. Chan with the “right”, good one! Another Ambition Faction graduate more like.

    Posted by Bennelong Bob | December 16, 2009, 15:23
  21. Let us look at this rationally.
    Chan has fought all odds to be a business success. Coming from a migrant family, he is a true Bennalong local who has spent his entire life in service to the party.
    On the otherhand, we have John Alexander, someone who decided to be a Liberal a month before preselection season began. Someone supported by the hard left and, it seems from these comments, the David Clarke Taliban. People who don’t want the Liberals to win seats or government, but care only about their own power.
    Mark Chan is the only chance for the Liberals to win back Bennalong for the Libs from Maxine McKew.
    The choice is clear. Let righteousness prevail.

    Posted by Bennalong Resident | December 16, 2009, 15:31
  22. Hawke voted against the ETS, and voted against Turncoat for leader. Anyone with an IQ above single digits knows this (which probably explains why the Tali still think otherwise, God bless their mentally-challenged souls…)

    Posted by The Truth | December 16, 2009, 15:35
  23. I support David Clarke 100% – he and i agree that the Bible is 100% the word of God – we cannot wait for you heathens to be smitten!

    Posted by Mike Baird | December 16, 2009, 15:50
  24. yes,(The Truth) he did vote against the ETS and againt Turnbull (in the first round). However he voted for Hockey in the first round to become leader and Turnbull in the second. Anyone with an IQ in the single digits would realise a vote for Hockey or Turnbull as leader was a vote for an ETS. Principled much ? I dont think so. Supporting the Group over a conservative ? Absolutley.

    Posted by Howard Patriot | December 16, 2009, 15:55
  25. So called “Howard Patriot” – you are spreading lies, and you know it.

    Posted by The Truth | December 16, 2009, 15:57
  26. I don’t trust Joe hockey – he does not believe the earth is 6,500 years old! -

    Posted by Mike Baird | December 16, 2009, 15:59
  27. Mark Chan charismatic? HAHAHA

    He’s a hunchbacked dribbler, wearing that pathetic navy jacket tan pants combo to look older than he is.

    Posted by Fred | December 16, 2009, 16:04
  28. So, “The Truth” are you saying the Alex Hawke voted for Tony Abbott for Leader on both occassions ?

    Posted by Howard Patriot | December 16, 2009, 16:07
  29. Mike Baird WTF do you know

    Posted by Warringah Wabbit | December 16, 2009, 17:13
  30. Everyone knows that Alex Hawke voted Hockey and then Turnbull. Hawke is not a conservative. Having a conservative as leader ruins all his plans. It makes it harder for him to N40 federal candidates and his whole strategy of stuffing over the right these past few years has been on the basis that he’d impress Turnbull, a grouper, and get a promotion into shadow cabinet.

    Posted by Tell it like it is | December 16, 2009, 17:21
  31. I wanted to be the candidate for Bennelong but my Daddy told me not to run.

    Posted by Nat Smith | December 16, 2009, 17:30
  32. First things first John, you need to join me for a spot of ‘dogging’ outside a male public lavatory.

    Posted by Alan Jones | December 16, 2009, 17:30
  33. I’ll drive my plumbing van around Eastwood. Cheap discounts on new pipes and service.

    Posted by Nat Smith for Bennelong 2013 | December 16, 2009, 17:33
  34. Which candidate will have the courage to bite the nasty sheep dog?

    Baaaaaaaaaaaaa said the sheep.

    Posted by Dr Dean | December 16, 2009, 18:12
  35. “Pyne was 25 going into Parliament
    Ellis 27
    Frazer 23
    Springborg in QLD just 21 ”

    all terrible disasters

    Posted by anonymous | December 16, 2009, 19:06
  36. When will we know the result?

    Posted by Richo | December 16, 2009, 22:25
  37. 11

    Posted by anonymous | December 16, 2009, 22:41
  38. at about 11

    Posted by anonymous | December 16, 2009, 22:42
  39. 67:37 Game set match to John Alexander

    Posted by umpire | December 16, 2009, 23:29
  40. What about me?

    Nick – You promised.

    Posted by Miles | December 16, 2009, 23:56
  41. John Alexander has won in straight sets.

    Posted by Bruce Macaveny | December 17, 2009, 0:05
  42. what are the numbers ?

    Posted by numbers bruce numbers | December 17, 2009, 0:06
  43. Alexander wins easily.

    Matthewson gives a bizarre speech and gets no votes.

    Posted by The Team | December 17, 2009, 0:15
  44. Did Matthewson sound like Mark Majewski?

    Posted by Bruce Macaveny | December 17, 2009, 0:29
  45. John Alexander can kiss good bye an ill advised attempt at a political career, Chan was the only one who could have won that seat from Maxine

    Posted by duke of bexington | December 17, 2009, 0:33
  46. Alex I thought you promised me Bennelong…

    Oh wait sorry, you promised me Berowra.

    Posted by Matttt Keeeaaanne | December 17, 2009, 0:46
  47. So who are the new groupers now?

    Posted by The New New Groupers | December 17, 2009, 1:32
  48. I’m not the Messiah. I’m just a very, VERY naughty boy.

    Posted by Life of Bryron | December 17, 2009, 2:56
  49. Alexander’s triumph over Chan is further proof that Alex’s promises are worth sh*t all and that Alex’s political career is going no where fast.

    On another topic, any word on which groupers have scored staffer jobs with Fletch?

    Posted by Darren Dudson | December 17, 2009, 3:23
  50. Tough call,

    On the one hand JA was a crap tennis player. But on the other, JA was was a better tennis player than Chan.

    Posted by Fred Stolle | December 17, 2009, 6:05
  51. During his tennis career, John Alexander won seven singles titles and 27 doubles titles. He is no loser. Watch out Maxine, he’s heading for the grand slam. He has already won game set and match with his three challengers in the pre selection.

    Posted by Ace | December 17, 2009, 7:20
  52. Fred Stolle is a better tennis commentator and was a far better tennis player.

    Posted by Richo | December 17, 2009, 7:57
  53. Alexander banned White City Tennis Club members from using the showers and toilets after their games!
    Great qualification for a liberal party candidate for federal parliament!

    Posted by Tennis player | December 17, 2009, 8:06
  54. Yeah but Stolle isn’t running for Bennalong. So what’s he got to do with it

    Posted by ACE | December 17, 2009, 8:07
  55. Lets see if Nick Campbell of Johnson and Johnson tries to sabotage this preselection to install his candidate of choice. It seems to be his modus operandi. Small issues are blown up, intervention called for by anonymous sources (most likely Nick himself), then Nick the Dick to the rescue by installing his preferred candidate. That’s democracy in the NSW Liberal Party under Nick Campbell. When you be Left or Right, this guys sucks big time.

    Posted by Citizen | December 17, 2009, 8:44
  56. Labor’s preferred candidate,John Alexander,last night won the Bennelong pres-election in a first round knockout.Max McKew can breathe easier.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 17, 2009, 10:01
  57. See Chan – shows you what happens when you go on about Jesuits being purged from the Party. Tony Abbott is a Jesuit and we like him, Robbo is a Jesuit and we like him.

    On the other hand Joe Hockey is a jesuit and we don’t like him, Matt Kean is a Jesuit and we don’t like him, Mark Chan is a Jesuit and we don’t like him, Scott Farlow is an Anglican and we don’t like him, Alex Hawke is a Hillsonger and we don’t like him.

    The common thread isn’t that we don’t like Jesuits, the common thread is that we don’t like the NEW GROUP!

    Posted by St Aloysius | December 17, 2009, 10:24
  58. Another blow-in selected over a long time local branch member. So much for the reform process.

    Posted by Lib Member | December 17, 2009, 10:29
  59. It looks like a battle between two boring “celebrities”. Both have the quality of being legends in their own lunchtimes.

    Gosh, Aussie politics is exciting!

    Wake me up when it’s over.

    Posted by tHE jOKER | December 17, 2009, 11:22
  60. Why does the article identify Mark Chan as “local Chinese businessman Mark Chan.”

    It should be “Australian businessman”, or “Chinese-Australian businessman.” He does not hold Chinese citizenship.

    Posted by Jon Burnes | December 17, 2009, 12:11
  61. I am pleased that the Party has selected JA – so what that he is a blow-in – I was a blow-in for Manly but lied to the community and pretended otherwise -

    Posted by Mike Baird | December 17, 2009, 12:15
  62. It would have made the party look like a joke if we chose a 25yr old who kept repeating with such pride that he has “over five years experience in the workforce” over a candidate with not only siginificant public profile and following but also real world business and life experience. If John Alexander couldnt be preselected over Mark Chan the media would have ridiculed us.

    Posted by Reason | December 17, 2009, 12:26
  63. what else do you blow Mike Baird

    Posted by Warringah Wabbit | December 17, 2009, 12:43
  64. Are we going to redirect the Liberal Party web site to one of those celebrity gossip sites? How low we have fallen in Australia when we feel that over-the-hill sports stars make good politicians.

    We’ve got two great examples in Victoria – Justin Madden and Kirstie Marshall – both ALP, both thick.

    Let’s hope Alexander gets grilled thoroughly by the media. The best we can hope for is that he realises he is not up to the task and quits on air like that guy a few years ago.

    Posted by Gruntle | December 17, 2009, 12:47
  65. Banning White City Tennis Club members from using the showers and toilets after their games makes Alexander unelectable to the Federal Parliament. We will remember that and remind all local players.

    Posted by tennis fan | December 17, 2009, 12:52
  66. I like JA. I met him at Ryde Pool. First I gave him a nice long ryde; then he finished me of with a quick pool.

    Posted by Lewd Byron | December 17, 2009, 12:58
  67. In response to “Lib Member” complaining about “a blow-in taking precedence over a local branch member”, I dont recall that subject ever being discussed as part of the reform process. May the best candidate win from where ever they may come.

    Posted by Former Lib | December 17, 2009, 13:07
  68. To “Reason”, yes John Alexander has infinitely greater experience in questionable business dealings than Mark Chan. Maxine took about two seconds after the preselection to put the issue front and centre – “I also note that Mr Alexander’s property interests have seen him involved in a protracted court case,” Ms McKew said. “I hope these issues can be resolved quickly because I can assure him the people of Bennelong deserve and will expect nothing less than his full attention.”


    We just preselected a sitting duck, well done

    Posted by A real howard patriot | December 17, 2009, 13:08
  69. Mark Chan – unimpressive. Hung like a gnat. Reminded me of the Kutasi cashew, actually. Still, I gave him a hand-chandy.

    Posted by Bryron | December 17, 2009, 13:10
  70. ohhhh shit! This is not good. Since when was the best candidate meant to win?

    Posted by Scott Failow | December 17, 2009, 13:54
  71. Two things we have learned from this pre-selection.

    1. You don’t need to own (or even work for) a local business to call yourself a “local businessman”.

    2. The new group is always sympathetic to the poor hard working local who gets shafted for a blow in from outside. Just like back in 2007 in the seat of Cook when…..Oh hang on?

    Posted by New group observer | December 17, 2009, 14:31
  72. Wasn’t Maxine McKew a “blow-in”? Then again so was Bronwyn Bishop, both from Mosman I believe.

    Posted by Former Lib | December 17, 2009, 15:11
  73. Speaking of staffer jobs, Have the positions vacated by the disgraced talis – tommy and charlie – been filled yet?

    Posted by mainstream | December 17, 2009, 16:33
  74. Both former ABC news readers “grinning” Max McKew and “Moscow” Mary Delahunty were good at reading their lines and Max was a good interviewer (Mary was hopeless) but as MP’s there were/are useless. Will John be any better, who knows, after all he was only a tennis player and not a great man in the real world

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | December 17, 2009, 17:51
  75. Did someone mention a ‘blow-in’? I haven’t one of thosem since I met Byron in the Wahroonga Public Gentlemen’s Lavatory.

    Posted by Pissy Chryne | December 17, 2009, 19:13
  76. 2. The new group is always sympathetic to the poor hard working local who gets shafted for a blow in from outside. Just like back in 2007 in the seat of Cook when…..Oh hang on?

    Michael Taouk, a St George supporter his entire life who got up entirely based on merit!

    Posted by Koh | December 17, 2009, 19:33
  77. Is it Towke, Tauok, Towek Taouk, Tooke, Tauck???? I don’t know how he chooses to spell his name these days….. All that I know is that he is a dirty Bulldogs supporter. What a first class candidate he was for Cook? Trust that spade McInerney to back a Lebanese Bulldogs supporter to run for a Cronulla based Federal seat!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Michael Taouk is dirty bulldogs supporter | December 17, 2009, 21:49
  78. Sandon Stolle for McEwen!

    and Turnbull (Wendy) for Wentworth.

    and…how about…Liz Smiley for Berowra.

    Posted by Fred Stolle | December 18, 2009, 1:21
  79. you think Chan is a sleaze ? He got nuthin on JA, just ask his ex wife and many many other women. Thinks he is god’s gift.

    Posted by jane austen | December 18, 2009, 7:17
  80. You heteros are weird.

    Posted by Bryron | December 18, 2009, 9:14
  81. Is that you Nick Campbell of Johnson and Johnson posting as “A real howard patriot”? Or is it a minion of yours? Yes, I can see the campaign starting against JA to create a controversy as a pretext to dumping him. This is the same MO being used to dump Chris Spence in the Entrance. Nick the Dick Campbell of Johnson and Johnson, you are a very naughty boy! Stop meddling in preselections decided by party members. Stop thinking you know better than the rest of us.

    Posted by Is that you Nick? | December 18, 2009, 9:33
  82. Former National Union of Workers NSW assistant secretary and lawyer Andrew Josephs has upset his former bruvvas by representing bosses in unfair dismissal claims against union members at Lindsay Transport. Although the NSW Union is standing by its man, a deal has been put forward to the National Office that NSW will cut Josephs’ retainer as soon as LUCRF (the NUW’s super fund) kicks Pacific Brands Employee Relations Manager Ted Eftimiadis off the board.

    Posted by from crikey??? | December 18, 2009, 9:56
  83. Alicia Molik should be asked to stand. Afterall, she is much more lively than JA.

    Posted by Tennis player | December 18, 2009, 19:52
  84. Alicia Molik…immmmmmm Little Fatty has just woken up and risen.

    Posted by Fatty Doyle | December 18, 2009, 20:08
  85. If a hard-working party member gets shafted by a useless blow-in, that’s annoying, but we are talking about a celebrity. Someone like John Alexander is much better for the Liberal Party – he’ll raise our profile, he’ll bring in lots of $’s and hopefully people. He’ll raise the party of the Liberal Party in the community much more than some Party hack could. He also will have a better understanding of the real world, because he lives in it. Also, since when have the New Group or Group had a problem with blow-ins?

    Posted by wannabe staffer | December 19, 2009, 0:51
  86. Yes, Pyne was 25 – but if you or read what he says, he actually feels he got into Parliament too early. What’s the point of being in at 25, if after over 15 years you’ve only achieved a junior ministry and a shadow portfoliio?

    Posted by Pyne friend | December 19, 2009, 0:53
  87. Yes John Alexander will do for the Libs what Kirstie Marshall did for the ALP…nothing! She has done sweet FA since being elected. And celeberities, former sports stars etc etc have less of clue about the real world than party hacks.

    Posted by Ex staffer | December 19, 2009, 1:45
  88. Koh you are an absolute tool. ‘Towke a St George supporter all his life’. Well he was either the leader of the Bulldogs army or a Sharks fan as his brochure showed him to be. Mmm…or maybe they’re all just another Tali lie – they’re pretty good at it!

    Posted by Tali are dumb! | December 20, 2009, 19:04


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