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Federal Government

NO SOUP FOR YOU: Coalition tensions in Lyne cost two generous party donors dinner with Tony Abbott

OakeshitAs conservatives across the nation prepare for what is increasingly seen as an inevitable federal election win in 2013, those in Rob Oakeshott’s seat of Lyne have reason to be especially excited at an opportunity to rendezvous bearing baseball bats with the former Nat MP on election day.

Oakeshott’s infamously ponderously expressed 17-minute decision to back Labor might have seemed like a fiestily independent good idea at the time but it backfired louder than Kevin Rudd’s campaign ute for the grandiose independent MP.

But it’s not all beer, skittles, baseball bats and premature celebration for conservatives in the Port Macquarie branch of the Liberal party. Despite the nasty efforts, Liberals say, of Nationals competitors, they are alive and kicking in Port Macquarie and in the Lyne federal seat.

Not all is well in paradise. A member of the VEXNEWS Investigations Unit embedded in the scene reports:

To rehash a little you may know that at the 2010 Federal election a David Gillespie was chosen by the Nationals to contest the election for Lyne against Rob Oakeshott. Despite David being a reasonably diligent and enterprising local gastroenterologist he is and this is widely acknowledged by most even in the National Party a very dull lad politically. The charisma fairy missed tapping Davo on the head. He was actually shadowed by that wacko Nationals Senator John “Wacka” Williams who was more of an intimidating hindrance than help during poor David’s inept public performances.

It seems David Gillespie is a very well-connected gastro-doc, having served as best man for Tony Abbott on his wedding day (an honour that may have been reciprocated). Their paths originally crossed in University days and Abbott also came to know his father when the Gillespie’s lived in Queanbeyan. So the bloke is well-connected.

However, despite an expectation that the Port Macquarie Liberals would run what would amount to a dummy candidate in Lyne to assist Dr Gillespie, there was not sufficient money or organisation to make it happen, apparently this was seen as a bit of a let-down by party members and by the local power-monopolist Nats too.

Relations between the power-hog Nats and Port Macquarie Liberals are not great at the moment, due to the Nats giving them the mushroom treatment of keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullsh*t, insiders report.

Frequently, members complain that they hear of their federal Leader Tony Abbott’s visits to the area from the local press, after the visit has occurred.

Abbott has mostly ignored the local branch and its members in favour of the Nats, causing sadness and disappointment among Liberal loyalists.

Our informant on the spot reports of an incident that caused particular concern:

On this particular occasion there was a joint fundraising effort between the Libs and Nats and an auction was organised where opportunities to sup with Tony Abbott were offered as one prize, a dinner hosted by him down in Canberra at Parliament House.

The auction went off and was won by businessman John Ross, a successful ex McDonald’s franchisee and local philanthropist. Ross was happy paying $3,800 for his victuals, hoping it would be a slight improvement on the Grand Angus.

At the same function was Paul Geddes CEO of the Ramsay owned Port Macquarie Private hospital. Paul piped up and said ‘Tony if you were to offer the same again then I will double the contributions.’ So $7,600 was raised and was to be shared between the local Nats and Libs. (The greedy Nats were not actually that happy with this arrangement as they generally don’t even like to think of there being Liberals actually paying subs on their patch!)

Now as things turned out neither generous donor have managed to have their promised dinner-date with the federal leader despite being handing over the loot some time ago.

The Port Libs are convinced the Nats party hierarchy, acting on a request from locals Nats members, arranged the Leader’s office to shun the gig until they could get the local Tories to agree that all the funds would go to the Nats. Some are impressed that a decision on this could actually get made in what they say is Abbott’s dysfunctional Leader’s office.

VEXNEWS understands that apologies were made and that the funds have since been handed back to the two gentleman.

Our favourite Liberal Senator Bill “The Heff” Heffernan apparently heard of the snafu and unleashed a torrid torrent of profanity about it but was unable to fix the mess.

Insiders report to VEX that:

The local branch feels that Abbott is giving Gillespie unreasonable support at the cost of increasing Liberal membership and influence. Through the Lib grapevine the word is that the Tony show is brutally micromanaging everything in all sectors and all branches. David Gillespie has indicated that he is interested in running again even though his poor wife Charlotte is none too keen to become the first lady of Lyne. They were burnt a lot last time as they felt the local Nats branch did not sufficiently support their campaign and were left to fend for themselves against what was then an Oakeshott juggernaut. Now he’s just a naught.

Rumour has it that a lot of the Nats membership didn’t think Gillespie was competent enough to do the job. Now Tony is hell bent on helping his close mate and getting him over the line and is obviously allergic to his modest and faithful Liberal party membership.

The President of the local branch is one Justin Levido a local solicitor at Donovan Oates Hannaford Lawyers.He has a slightly chequered history in that he was a director of Donovan Oates Hannaford Mortgage Corporation Limited (DOHMC)which went belly up in 2008. No illegalities were found but many prominent locals were burnt with the latest offerings from Pricewaterhouse Coopers receivers of 76 cents returned in the dollar.

Quite a few of the directors were burned also as they had outstanding “loans” which had to be
repaid. Levido’s temperament does not lend itself to roughing up Abbott and holding his ground so his members get to wallow in self-pity. Many in the Liberal party believe that Lyne and for that matter the State electorate is fertile ground for Liberal candidacy but are very disappointed in Abbott, who has done brilliantly well roaring against Labor and Gillard and their carbon tax, but turns into a complete pussy cat when it comes to the National Party.


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  1. Things are very tense lets say between the members of the coalition, couldn’t happen to nicer people

    Posted by Maggie | February 14, 2012, 15:41
  2. Oakshott probably like Windsor have no intentions of running in the 2013 election so why would he care?

    Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2012, 16:49
  3. 76 cents in the dollar seems a lot better than the good folks of Melbourne Uni students got a few years ago!

    Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2012, 19:28
  4. Melb Uni students got back 120 cents in the dollar less the cost of the administrators legal fees.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | February 14, 2012, 21:43
  5. Let’s all kiss and make up now.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | February 14, 2012, 21:43
  6. Hey Joe, did you see my story in The Oz today about the Holden deal with the unions.

    It won’t be long until I’ve run the car industry out of town. ‘Cos no one in Adelaide cares about the car industry anyway.

    So do I still get to be Shadow Treasurer when you’re leader?

    Posted by JB | February 14, 2012, 22:39
  7. A really fat bleached Dean mighell at Bob Katter Australia party launch


    Posted by What a wanker | February 15, 2012, 10:08
  8. Dean and I had a lovely time together Bob’s launch, then Dean whisked me away for a passionate night watching a naughty DVD.

    Posted by Delores the she-male | February 15, 2012, 13:52
  9. Mile looks like a really fat Plastic Bertand

    Posted by NSW Fill Clearly | February 15, 2012, 17:51
  10. ***The charisma fairy missed tapping Davo on the head***

    Big deal. You could say the same thing about Leslie Williams, who won the State seat of Port Macquarie last March. Lyne is not an electorate where charisma is a campaign essential.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | February 18, 2012, 10:25
  11. ***Frequently, members complain that they hear of their federal Leader Tony Abbott’s visits to the area from the local press, after the visit has occurred***

    Yeah, and why is that? Oakeshott used to work at the Port Macquarie News and they still put on the kneepads for any events remotely affecting him.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | February 18, 2012, 10:27