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Federal Government

DOING RIGHT: Sophie Mirabella under pressure to give vulnerable old man’s estate to charity

SophiemirabellaLiberal shadow minister Sophie Mirabella is under pressure today to publicly account for and disgorge any inappropriate financial transactions with an elderly Colin Howard QC who suffered Alzheimers and had previously been her live-in lover.

“This could destroy her politically,” one Liberal insider, no fan of Mirabella’s, warned.

The parallels between Mirabella’s case and the notorious Hajnal Black scandal are incredible. In Black’s case, the Queensland local councillor lost her preselection over an eerily similar case that also involved an apparently secret love affair between an older man, who was a QC, who had a million-dollar-plus estate, and a very aggrieved family. Amazing coincidence. Black was unlucky in the timing of the revelations against her, coming prior to the 2010 federal election. She was swiftly disendorsed by LNP authorities.

Liberal insiders tell VEXNEWS the only way Mirabella can safely manage claims she exploited the Alzheimers’ sufferer and engaged in a conflict of interest as the executor of his will and power of attorney is to ensure that funds gifted, lent or bequeathed to Mirabella are given to a charitable cause, ideally one associated with Colin Howard’s work.

The extraordinary and breath-taking story, ably told by The Sunday Age’s Michael Bachelard, yet apparently scooped the day before in an Eric Beecher outlet which stole the story ahead of its planned Sunday publication date, opens up a world of trouble for Mirabella who, insiders say, is quick to run out prurient and nasty stories about internal political rivals and who throws her increasing weight around the chamber.

Bachelard came in on the long run and revealed:

■ Sophie Mirabella (then Panopoulos) and Colin Howard QC were lovers for five years during the 1990s, despite him being forty years her senior;

■ Mirabella met Howard at the University of Melbourne, where he was one of her professors at the Law School;

■ The close relationship continued until his death, even though Mirabella had stopped their sexual relationship some time sooner;

■ Howard bank-rolled Mirabella’s entry into politics, backing her preselection and election bid. VEXNEWS understands Mirabella had moved to Wangaratta to nominally work as a barrister but did not have many briefs on during that time;

■ Mirabella extracted other funds from the elderly gent, including money to help her buy a farmhouse in Wangaratta and also stands to inherit a property in Carlton worth $1 million or more, as the apparently sole heir of his estate;

■ Mirabella broke a promise to employ the man in her federal electorate office;

The rest is a sad story of decline of a great man, an MP who needs to quickly show she’s done or is now willing to do the right thing with his estate, and an apparently well-funded, well-aggrieved and unforgiving family who could potentially finish her politically if she’s not careful.

She has forced us to praise Bachelard. We will also find this very hard to forgive.


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  1. ****insiders say, is quick to run out prurient and nasty stories about internal political rivals***

    Look who’s talking.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | September 23, 2011, 9:14
  2. What a creep. Well Mirabella is, Howard’s a playa.

    Posted by Ew | September 23, 2011, 9:31
  3. I hope it goes to court. Can’t wait to hear all the sordid details.

    Posted by The A-grade student ;-) | September 23, 2011, 9:50
  4. This may explain her meeting with the Convoy of Incontinence. Looking for new prospects, perhaps?

    Posted by Stevan | September 23, 2011, 9:55
  5. how many other lovers did sophie have while she was with Colin Howard QC? It’s a very intersting answer.

    Posted by lusty lass | September 23, 2011, 10:55
  6. does vendy lovell have an answer to the above question? reckon she might. maybe ask wild bill sykes.

    Posted by lusty lass | September 23, 2011, 10:56
  7. @ lusty lass… the name noel crichton-brown springs to mind

    Posted by slickwilly | September 23, 2011, 11:02
  8. This woman is grubby beyond words, forever up her umbrage tree and screeching righteous indignation at the short comings of others.

    Posted by D P Hadley | September 23, 2011, 11:26
  9. Errr not even I or Percy would go there.

    Posted by Boofa | September 23, 2011, 12:14
  10. If the above story was about Gillard Fairfax would have already sacked Bachelard.

    Posted by Anon | September 23, 2011, 12:23
  11. So that’s how she got her law degree?

    Posted by Anonymous | September 23, 2011, 13:02
  12. These days you would need a large bag of flour.

    Posted by anon | September 23, 2011, 13:10
  13. $100,000 buys a law degree alright.

    Posted by jane | September 23, 2011, 16:31
  14. Her husband would feel a right dick at the moment wouldn’t he

    Posted by Right Said Fred | September 23, 2011, 17:07
  15. Isn’t he Major Cuckhold?

    Posted by anon | September 23, 2011, 17:08
  16. I can imagine Sophie lying back and thinking of Howard, John Howard.

    Posted by A Nonny Mouse | September 23, 2011, 17:20
  17. What a revolting vision I’m getting it would be like Magda Szubanski pre weight loss.

    Posted by anon | September 23, 2011, 17:50
  18. Lock up your fathers Sophie is in town

    Posted by Taking of Pell 123 | September 23, 2011, 19:55
  19. I would never stoop to Sophie Mirabella’s standards. I would not screw anyone that old and then take their money except my those voters in Mordialloc!

    Posted by Lowrain Woeful | September 23, 2011, 19:57
  20. The acorn does not fall far from the tree scratch the surface and lots more grubby facts in the name of financial rewards will surface from this family and oh by the way her parents did know and were eager for her to get ahead this way…We should know regrettably we are
    family members!!!!!!!

    Posted by anon | September 23, 2011, 20:19
  21. ***if the above story was about Gillard Fairfax would have already sacked Bachelard***


    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | September 23, 2011, 20:38
  22. Wenchy, you would never have Sophie’s dilemma. The most money you’d be given by anyone is $5 for a train ride home after a quickie under the Mordialloc bridge.

    Posted by Anon | September 23, 2011, 21:34
  23. Please don’t mention my name with Wenchy and amorous activities at Pompeis, her indoors will hit the roof.

    Posted by Boofa | September 23, 2011, 22:11
  24. Sophie Rocks!

    She sussed you right away as Presidente of MUSU!

    Posted by Aaargh! | September 23, 2011, 22:59
  25. 5 years with someone 40 years her senior.
    C’mon be fair. She worked hard for the money.

    Posted by Hard earned millions | September 24, 2011, 8:55
  26. Interesting reversal of values here; normally old men who bed very young women are regarded as the predators; is there any suggestion the old goat had alzheimers when they STARTED shacking up?

    Sophie has done the right thing because “The close relationship continued until his death, even though Mirabella had stopped their sexual relationship some time sooner”; she would have been out of line if she had continued the sex after he died.

    Posted by cohenite | September 24, 2011, 9:18
  27. an increasing number of wealthy elderly australians are be robbed by non family members who manipulate them. Very sad.

    Posted by Modern bush rangers | September 24, 2011, 9:19
  28. Sophies astute use of this frail old man is the marketplace in action. She provided a service for five long years and he rewarded that.

    Posted by Marketplace works | September 24, 2011, 9:22
  29. I understand that Sophie has been taking lessons from the NSW Minister for Planning

    Posted by The Insider | September 24, 2011, 9:56
  30. couldn’t happen to a nicer person

    Posted by Zaf | September 24, 2011, 10:26
  31. ***Her husband would feel a right dick at the moment wouldn’t he

    Posted by Right Said Fred | September 23, 2011, 17:07 ***

    I dont think her husband would feel like a dick since he had the rich old man shacked up right next door … perhaps keep your friends close and your enemies closer to ensure your families millions!

    Posted by anon | September 24, 2011, 14:16
  32. Well at long last Mirabella’s chickens are coming home to roost. Funny isn’t it how she can get on TV and castigate others without fear or favour and now she will be in the “hot seat”. Lets see how she handles the criticism! People like her are commonly known as BULLIES!

    Posted by BadAbit | September 24, 2011, 18:21
  33. Once a nasty venomous self serving opportunistic mole, always a nasty venomous self serving opportunistic mole.

    Posted by political realist | September 24, 2011, 20:50
  34. The first act of Colin Howard as incoming Dean of the Melbourne University Law School was to try to cheat me out of honours for my Legal Process subject. His last act as outgoing Dean was to deny me special consideration for an exam I had missed due to illness. In both cases, his decisions were overturned by the Academic Board causing severe embarrassment to the Law Faculty within the hallowed ivory towers of academia. One of their cardinal rules is that when you are screwing over a student you don’t like, you make sure you can’t get caught out by covering your tracks with plausible deniability.

    While he was undoubtedly an intelligent and capable person, his conservatism was of the old school tie authoritarian variety. He clearly despised my libertarian bordering on anarchic tendencies and tried unsuccessfully to hobble me. Unfortunately for him, I understood more about the practical use and application of administrative law principles than he did and it was easy to roll him. He may have been a professor and a QC but I was a street fighter. Despite his hallowed status, he was a bigot and a simpleton and a push over. Self important people usually are.

    None of the above is even remotely relevant to the current story apart from showing the true character of the man. It presumably indicates the sort of values he passed down to his chidren.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | September 24, 2011, 23:31
  35. Well said Andrew!

    Posted by Knucklehead | September 25, 2011, 1:42
  36. What kind of useless/dishonest lawyer is ignorant of the rules for disclosing political contributions and the clear conflict of interest in being financial PoA and beneficiary of the will?

    One of the most vile politicians in Canberra at the moment, in a very competitive field.

    Posted by Stevie J's knee cap | September 25, 2011, 1:47
  37. will the Major be pimping out the daughter when she turns 18. These people are dogs

    Posted by Anonymous | September 25, 2011, 10:13
  38. Guiseppe. Going on your many legal battles in recent years, it looks as though your victory over professor Howard was not only your first in the law, but also your last.

    Posted by McPerton | September 25, 2011, 14:17
  39. I disagree with Sophie on some foreign policy issues like the trweatment of David Hicks in Cuba and the Iraq war but I side with her on this issue.

    Firstly the late Collin Howard QC can do what he likes with his money when he was alive and in his will. Sophie and her husband looked after the ill professor in his final years which is to be commended.

    Finally in 2001 when Sophie was a de facto with Collin Howard I would have thought that the couples money used in election is their business.

    The unions pure millions into the ALP campaigns whether the union members like it or not.

    The major parties rip millions off taxpayers each election when about $2 per primary vote is paid to all candidates who get 4% plus (discrimination on independents and some minor parties) of the primary vote.

    The major parties control the committee that decides this funding which is a conflict of interest.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | September 25, 2011, 16:19
  40. A freaky creep, a mole?
    Is someone talking about me?

    Posted by Royce Millar | September 25, 2011, 17:43
  41. There are plenty of moles in the Parliament Royce, on both sides. But Sophie and Fran Bailey were at the top of the mole hill.

    Posted by political realist | September 25, 2011, 19:47
  42. The above story could not possibly be true.

    Sophie was never married to the late Mr Howard QC.

    Posted by Anon | September 25, 2011, 21:13
  43. Anextractf rom Ms Mirabella’s maiden speech in Parliament:

    “This being my maiden speech, there are a number of people whose inspiration and support I would like to acknowledge here today. I have noticed in my brief experience of public life that intellectual honesty and independent thought can be a rare commodity. Sir Harry Gibbs, Dr Colin Howard and Sir David Smith are men whose intellectual ability and integrity have not only inspired me but have proven that not all public figures succumb to petty vanities driven by deprivation of the spotlight. As a relatively young Australian, I am grateful for the hope that they have given me.”

    Ms Mirabella, how about displaying some “intellectual honesty and independent thought” and making a detailed and proper explanation to Parliament (just as you have demanded of Craig Thompson)?

    Posted by Cerigo | September 26, 2011, 15:15
  44. Adrian dear, when you say you disagree with little Sophie about Hick’s treatment do you mean he should have been horse-whipped first then held under water and not the other way round?

    Posted by cohenite | September 26, 2011, 17:16
  45. George Droutzas has also had a relationship with a female state MP before entering parliament.

    Can anyone enighten us as to who that might be?

    Posted by Anon | September 26, 2011, 17:19
  46. I’ze f#ckd em all?

    Posted by Georgyboy | September 26, 2011, 17:30
  47. I’ve lost count of all the mp’s I’ve loved before. Can you narrow it down a bit?

    Posted by Ol' G-Orgy-boy | September 26, 2011, 17:32
  48. We know George very well, we are always around him.

    Posted by Mrs Palmer & her 5 Daughters | September 26, 2011, 18:25
  49. as a greek – i have seen a lot of greek families befriend elderly folk with a view to coopting their monies. this doesn’t just happen in melbourne but is the modus operandi for many greek families living in kingsford, nsw. these people are the scum of the earth and are giving us a bad name. next time you see a greek woman taking soup to an elderly neighbour, please do some community service and ask the neighbour if their will is safe or report to the authorities. i know from expeirence that there is always an ulterior motive as there is no such thing as altruism in our community. just like my relos in greece who brought on the sovereign debt crisis, sophie mirabella is and always will be a grub and i hope the public boots her from office. and when you’re done with her can you please get rid of that vile and loathsome creature conchetta fierrevanti wells

    Posted by vic spana | September 27, 2011, 8:24
  50. Vic Spana: you appear to have a lower opinion of your ethnic group than is warranted by the facts. As an Italian, I admire my Greek friends even when they bear gifts. I find them to be decent, honest people. Sure, there are a few shonks but nothing compared to the number of shonks in the Anglo community.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | September 27, 2011, 15:23
  51. thank you for your comment guiseppi. I believe the facts speak for themselves and from my extended experience in my own community and from the numerous shocking instances of this happening that i have seen, it is clearly a problem. What Sophie is doing is not isloated, it is part of an endemic world view that i find my brethren seem to have – ie rip off whoever and whatever you can. I have neighbours on three sides who are ripping off the dole system and taking extended holidays back home. As we both know there are shonks in every community but I am very concerned with this mentality continuing in our younger generation and that’s why i have raised it. this is not the greek community i want to be a part of and i think we have to stand up and speak up against our own sometimes, as daunting as it is.

    Posted by vic spana | September 28, 2011, 6:34
  52. News Flash

    3 Days after Howards death Mirabella sent her mother back to South Melbourn and Hired a nanny to look after her brood…Why? Well there was no longer any need for secrecy the Mirabella’s mother looked after the kids and the old man who was hidden away from his own children and grand children. Now she can reap her ill gotten rewards and if she is given the chance to make decisions for Australia she will screw all of us as well.

    Posted by Anon | September 28, 2011, 12:38
  53. Good to see her chickens are coming home to roost, after the way she screwed us at ALSF I realised she was a wrong ‘un. She’s a useless munt.

    Posted by MULCer | September 28, 2011, 23:50
  54. I hope the bitch gets it she has the morals of an alley cat.

    Posted by anon | September 29, 2011, 7:38
  55. Comparing her to Cheryl Kernot is way harsh!!!

    Posted by Anonski | September 29, 2011, 9:02
  56. re news flash – wow
    can she get any grubbier?
    she also probably thought she would have howard’s money to pay for a nanny now. i hope her electorate sees her for what she really is. a sickening excuse for a human being. i feel very sorry for her children. how embarassing to have a mother like her – who would sell you at the drop of a hat to further her own hitleresque ambitions

    Posted by vic spana | September 29, 2011, 11:19
  57. I know George Droutsaz very very well

    Posted by Wenchy | September 29, 2011, 17:05
  58. Wenchy I could not touch the sides.

    Posted by Georgie | September 29, 2011, 17:34
  59. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms Wenchy.

    Posted by G-Orgy-boy | September 30, 2011, 10:00
  60. Firstly to all you posters here using the word ‘mole’ I think you mean ‘moll.’ Secondly I can only say I have the most wonderful Greel friends in the world, they are fabulous in every way and not one of them is engaged in ripping off anyone so that is a bit of a generalisation.

    Posted by Sad indictment | September 30, 2011, 13:08
  61. G_Orgy Boy, we did not have sex in the Bill Clinton sense of the word but I have had to re-do my chompers since then. Brand new from Thailand.

    Posted by Wenchy | September 30, 2011, 18:01
  62. give em time sad indictment, give em time, sadly we never cease to underwhelm! and anyway how would you know -we’re a very covert lot. loook at soph – she would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for……

    Posted by vic spana | September 30, 2011, 23:22
  63. Oh Brother Abbott Sunday Mass will be a joy, young Derek will be inducted into the joys of Catholicism in my private quarters, don’t be late.

    Posted by Cardinal Pell | October 1, 2011, 0:13
  64. Amen Cardinal,Amen Cardinal…….

    Posted by Taking of Pell 123 | October 1, 2011, 0:56
  65. Is “Cardinal Pell” a psuedonym for Julian Bumside QC?

    It sounds like the sort of thing he would say.

    Posted by Leigh Lowe | October 4, 2011, 11:23
  66. The similarities between this and the Black case are devistating, Black continues to get delay after delay preventing what I imagine has to be almost a certain verdict of guilty from happening quickly. Unlike her DD case I don’t think she can argue that her prospects will be affected by a conviction being recorded this time.

    Posted by Larry of Greenbank | October 13, 2011, 21:26


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