// you’re viewing...


“I’M A BLOODY AXE MURDERER”: Baillieu’s chief-of-staff complains about VEXNEWS on secret audio recordings

Tony Nutt, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s Chief of Staff, reckons VEXNEWS has presented him as a “bloody axe murderer.” That’s not quite right but the fact that our publication looms so large in private political discussions among all parties is a powerful acknowledgement of what VEXNEWS has achieved in breaking the news that shakes the nation.

The stunning revelations in Melbourne’s sole remaining quality newspaper, the Herald Sun, by its award-winning state political reporter James Campbell on the intriguing inner-workings of the Victorian government have already prompted the first significant reference to IBAC, the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

It’s hard to top Campbell’s spectacular coverage that left The Age tabloid’s editor Andrew Holden doing interviews promoting his tabloid launch on radio being forced to discuss a story his newspaper didn’t have, so we left the issue alone yesterday.

However, overnight, VEXNEWS investigators trawling through the recordings and transcripts on the Herald Sun’s site did find a fascinating reference to our own fine publication in a phone conversation between boned former Peter Ryan ministerial adviser Tristan Weston and now Premier’s Chief of Staff Tony Nutt:

Tristan Weston: I am trying to find some part time work and I’ve been looking…mate I’m not fussy. I’ve applied for everything and anything but as I said I’m in a position where I don’t have any experience on a factory floor, so there’s plenty of blokes who are unemployed who have. So I’m behind the eight-ball with them and anything that I’m qualified for I’m too tarnished.

Tony Nutt: Yeah, but you see, I think that you’re now…that the tarnish, yes there’s this controversy, there’s no doubt about that, but this OPI letter means that you are not being charged with anything and we’re now able to say to people: “Look, yes there was some controversy about Tristan that’s on the record but he’s a good guy. He’s got all these skills. That’s all behind him in there’s no legal issues facing him. That’s very clear. And yeah, sure, you can Google him, you can Google lots of people, I mean I can Google myself and read that I’m a bloody axe murderer if you go to Vex News so, sure there’s a bit of controversy but we know it’s all settled now and all moved on now and he’s a good guy why don’t you give him a go”. So I think the thing that would be inhibiting people in that second category would have just been: “Oh well there’s this sword of Damocles hanging there and you know it’s all very difficult, but if we can say to people, as we now can: “Well, actually that’s resolved and let’s all move on”. 

We don’t think we’ve been that unkind to Nutty – as he is affectionately known in Liberal circles – but we’ll let others judge that.

While we’re boasting, we did, of course, break the story that Nutt was being removed as party director for a well-paid gig in the Premier’s Department, which set the stage for him becoming Baillieu’s COS.

Some think the Premier will be forced to bone his Chief of Staff over the statements made in the recordings, we’re not so sure about that although he will be nervous about the IBAC probe, with no-one quite sure just how vicious or useless the new anti-corruption watchdog will be. Perhaps, as is so often the case with these agencies like the Ombudsman or NSW ICAC, it will be both vicious and useless.

VEXNEWS – because of our capacity to find out and publish impactful and well-researched stories some would rather not see published – has certainly chopped out for itself a certain role in the news reporting space.

It isn’t often publicly acknowledged other than by the slightly unhinged Melbourne councillor Stephen Mayne, whose obsession with us plays out on his ratepayer funded Twitter feed on days when he’s missed his appointment with his therapist.Mayne polled last in a recent Municipal Association of Victoria election and apparently blames our revelations that he’d attempted to corrupt the ballot. We suspect the answer lies within, Stephen.

Rarely does a week go by without one of our stories being picked up, mostly unattributed, in “traditional” media (the kind desperately hiring consultants to figure out how to deal with epic and systemic market failure in news markets). We don’t mind at all, believing as President Reagan did, that there’s no limit to what a man (or woman) might accomplish if he (or she) doesn’t mind who takes the credit.

However, the Herald Sun “tapes” (of course there are no tapes these days but Watergate language still looms large in the political consciousness and does seem apt given the sleazy nature of them) show that VEXNEWS does indeed loom large in the minds of political operatives throughout Australia, perhaps particularly in Melbourne, our home-town. Quite the accomplishment for our merry band of investigators.

TristanwestonThe government may well wish it had not just vanity-searched VEXNEWS for adverse references but also heeded our free advice.

VEXNEWS first raised concerns that Tristan Weston wasn’t happy with how he was being treated in November 2011. Many suspect the audio recordings that have surfaced now were made by him. It is widely believed in Spring Street that there are even more recordings to come as Mr Weston had been in the habit of recording conversations for several months.

Our 2011 story was sourced from Liberals sympathetic to him and the position he’d been left in by Deputy Premier Peter Ryan.

We argued – see for yourself – that it was very unwise indeed to have Tristan Weston cut loose in circumstances he could reasonably see as very unfair. Certainly, the Herald Sun’s revelations make it clear that Tony Nutt and the Liberal party state director Damian Mantach were sympathetic to his plight where arguably he was covering for his previous boss, the Deputy Premier, who has appeared to have lied to the Office of Police Integrity and the Victorian Parliament.

VEXNEWS understands Mr Weston is currently working at Melbourne Airport in a reasonably low-paid security gig. It should come as no surprise that he’s displeased about being hung out to dry. It’s disgraceful, far more so than anything of which Tristan Weston has been accused.

At risk of quoting ourselves twice in the same article, last year we wrote:

A political staffer was falsely accused of doing something and lost his job. He’s been out of work ever since, in an astonishingly brutal and stupid punishment. Liberal staffer Tristan Weston was “hung out to dry” over claims he was a rogue operator pushing for the removal of the then Police Commissioner. We’re yet to figure out why the Victorian government felt so shy about sacking/hiring/whatevering the Police Commissioner. It’s their right to do so. They are elected to hire and fire whomever they choose.

Anyway, Weston clearly didn’t act alone in pushing for Overland’s ousting, when on the Deputy Premier and Police Minister’s staff and he ought not be further punished for doing his job, as best he perceived it. Being practical, he’s not likely to go back to being a ministerial adviser, as they should never be the story, but a role ought be found for the once very highly regarded top cop and political candidate. If reports the Premier’s staff are trying to help him are correct, that’s a very good, if rather belated, thing. One day, we can hope that treating people justly and decently, after they’ve been cleared of false claims, is no longer described breathlessly by political opponents and journalists.

It was always politically unwise – and morally outrageous – to have burned Tristan Weston. Now the government is left looking very dodgy over a situation (where they wanted a new Police Commissioner) that they themselves blew up into a big deal.

In life, you reap what you sow.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. can someone explain to me how you can accrue 49 weeks annual leave and 25 weeks of long service as claimed by dean mighell in workforce blog.PWC have no audit as non exist. if so bill kelty would have received it at mediation, which dean attended the unfortunate thing in this scenario is troy mighell is stuck with dean gray.Groundhog day… same shit different day.

    Posted by jimmy | March 5, 2013, 7:26
  2. maybe “secret serge” can help him out

    Posted by Anonymous | March 5, 2013, 8:39
  3. Dean all about recording conversations unauthorised during negotiations with multiplex regarding federation square corrupt Dean taped the meeting without permission he is a outright fucking dog.

    Posted by Stephen/Fiona | March 5, 2013, 10:09
  4. what about peter angelico, ingas special man in frankston. did all the work on keeping ladies quiet locally about shawrie

    Posted by angry bro | March 5, 2013, 12:18
  5. When Tristan says hes still got friends in the party, he is of course referring to Donna Petrovich. As Tony Nutt says when referring to his association with Gina Rinehart, Im not shore whether thats a good thing or a bad thing.

    Posted by paulie walnuts | March 5, 2013, 13:18
  6. Have I mentioned what a great premier Michael O’Brien would make?

    Posted by No More Mercy | March 5, 2013, 14:09
  7. Fancy Nutty been shonky and dishonest – who would ever have thought that about him?

    Posted by anon | March 5, 2013, 14:30
  8. Well Paulie, I don’t even think Gina has enough money to pay off every coalition embarrassment in Victoria.

    Iron ore would have to hit $800 a tonne

    H the B

    Posted by H the B | March 5, 2013, 14:32
  9. Looks like Mr Nutt has pooed in his own nest. If you sleep with doge you will end up with fleas.

    Posted by Argus Tuft | March 5, 2013, 17:30
  10. Red Ted can sure pick COS’s first there was Hymie now Nutty, I wonder who is next???

    Posted by anon | March 5, 2013, 17:44
  11. And as for Ryan he might have to dig up his brother, to have another ‘diversionary sob’ over his death bed again.

    Posted by anon | March 5, 2013, 17:46
  12. Nutt googles himself? Sad, truly sad …

    Posted by Indeed | March 5, 2013, 21:06
  13. Peter Angelico , the leaker from the South East, is Bruce Billson’s man. Billosn now needs to cut him off as investigations show that Angelico and his pommie mate are in it to their back teeth

    Posted by anon | March 5, 2013, 21:35
  14. No no I just simple man from Mexico who like tequila and obese ladies to snuggle up to.

    Posted by Peter Angelico | March 5, 2013, 22:10
  15. Do people say Peter that bridge there you built what a great bridge it is – no.
    Do people say Peter that house there the big beautiful mansion it is great – no.
    Do they say that dam with fresh water you constructed it is wonderful- no.
    But just once I stay night with the Big Lady from the South East I get known as the barge arse roota!

    Posted by Peter Angelico | March 5, 2013, 22:21
  16. Angelico. Barrow, Gledhill – their destablisation helps no one else but Labor in those Frankston line seats.

    Posted by Anon | March 5, 2013, 23:35
  17. Weston, a chess player thinking 6 moves ahead up against a room fool of idiots playing with play dough and finger paint. Bring on the check mate move.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 11:27
  18. Weston: Clearly the most powerful man in the Liberal Party at the moment

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 11:59
  19. Now we know why Inga and Geoff Shaw have been meeting up!!!

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 12:02
  20. Anon aka Paul Peulich, you need to get your facts right, the only corrupt people within the south east are you and your mother. You are both racist, homophobic morons who have set about destroying the liberal membership in the south east so your mother can prop up her failing supporter base. At least your mother has achieved something with her life, unlike you, no job to speak of unless you call Councillor (you don’t attend meetings and you only go the job thanks to your mummy), failed athlete, failed degree and the worst DJ I have heard check him out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkVmUp-5wAM

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 12:20
  21. Anon aka Paul Peulich, you need to get your facts right, the only corrupt people within the south east are you and your mother. You are both racist, homophobic morons who have set about destroying the liberal membership in the south east so your mother can prop up her failing supporter base. At least your mother has achieved something with her life, unlike you, no job to speak of unless you call Councillor (you don’t attend meetings and you only go the job thanks to your mummy), failed athlete, failed degree and the worst DJ I have heard check him out on youtube “paulie p billion voices”

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 12:22
  22. Anon aka Paul Peulich, you need to get your facts right, the only corrupt people within the south east are you and your mother. You are both racist, homophobic morons who have set about destroying the liberal membership in the south east so your mother can prop up her failing supporter base.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 12:26
  23. Red Ted is in a bit of a pickle..stunned about Shaw’s resignation…if the ALP had any class they’d back off and if there is a by-election will not run a candidate…

    Vic under the present govt has galloped backwards on every economic and social measure- despite the efforts of Top End ted..a contested by-election would be less than helpful

    Dolts like Asher and Wells do little and comprehend less…ironically the only Mins with any apparent energy are Clark, Woolly and Guy…

    the Country Party has all but disappeared

    Posted by horrie | March 6, 2013, 12:34
  24. Nice to know that Angelico, Barrow, Gledhill have so much power in the south east, is Inga must be losing her grip!

    Posted by Anonymous | March 6, 2013, 12:35
  25. Nutt may be a lot of things but he hasn’t done anything wrong and he doesn’t deserve the treatment he is receiving. The way he has been dropped in it from a great height by Ted just confirms how insipid Ted really is. The only question that remains is whether that shiver without a spine better known as the Victorian Parliamentary Liberal Party has the balls to get rid of him.

    Posted by Dryasachip | March 6, 2013, 12:50
  26. maybe teddy may dump on ryan next.

    Posted by angry bro | March 6, 2013, 13:19
  27. I have not had sexual relations with that man.

    Posted by Inga Binga | March 6, 2013, 14:47
  28. Nutty is a crook look at the facts.

    Posted by anon | March 6, 2013, 15:06
  29. Big Ted looks totally incompetent in all of this. Is this the worst performing Liberal Party in Australia or what?

    There is a case for voting Liberal federally but ALP at the Victorian level, which I hear many business people support.

    Business historically has had better relations with Victorian State Labor than the State Liberal parliamentary team.

    Ted doesn’t get it! I’m struggling to think what Ted gets other than how to indulge in quirky behaviour.

    The party has to get rid of him and put Matt Guy or maybe Kim Wells (who is under-rated but performs well). But I doubt anyone has the balls (or female equivalent) to do it.

    Posted by Sad businessman | March 6, 2013, 17:00
  30. Well done for breaking this story Andy – in 2008.


    Is Naptime the Victorian Liberal Party’s answer to Gillard?

    Is Geoff Shaw their answer to Craig Thomson?

    Does this make Daniel Andrews Vic Labor’s answer to Tony Abbott?

    Game on.

    Posted by Naptime Zzzz | March 6, 2013, 20:33
  31. Weston to Mantach: I won’t start the fight but I will finish it
    Looks like Weston just made good on his words. One leader down, one C.O.S and one Deputy Premier to go…….

    Posted by Brendan Gray | March 6, 2013, 20:42
  32. Poor Ted.

    A good man, brought down by the shower of duds that surrounded him.

    Posted by TedHead (still) | March 6, 2013, 20:54
  33. Could not be smiling more tonight that filthy scum has fallen on his sword.

    Posted by anon | March 6, 2013, 23:25
  34. Nutty COS to a nothing, yesterday’s man. Nappy will not touch him in a pink fit.

    Posted by anon | March 6, 2013, 23:27
  35. Mantach is next.

    Look who’s on his payroll in Corangamite.

    Posted by Barwon Heads | March 6, 2013, 23:44
  36. Anonymous 12.20, 12.22 and 12.26 – shows why you wont get anywhere – coz u are full of crap.

    Posted by Anon | March 7, 2013, 0:45
  37. Liberals & Anti Corruption Commission fishing will catch Mantach red handed time and time again. One hand in the cash register and the other playing with Tony’s Nutts. Ronnos clitoris will be twitching about now.

    Posted by GONE FISHING | March 7, 2013, 23:16
  38. Get back to work -your undermining is well known to all as is that of your work colleagues.

    Posted by Anonymous = Ben Clissold | March 8, 2013, 21:02
  39. I have never met Tristan Weston. Nevertheless, I consider Mr Weston to have been most shabbily treated by Ted, Nutty and Co. Mr Weston’s dish of revenge writ large has to be admired. Well done, Mr Weston – you may have saved Victoria from the ravages of an Andrews ALP government. Good luck to Dr Denis. Whatever the woes of the Victorian Liberal Party, there can be no doubt that Daniel Andrews is a buffoon of the highest order.

    Posted by Anonski | March 9, 2013, 0:55
  40. If only Ryan had kept his mouth shut. If only Nutt had kept his word and helped Weston out. If only……If only. One of the most frustrating phrases in the English language

    Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2013, 23:14
  41. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

    Posted by gohima.com | March 20, 2013, 22:52


January 2019
« Jul