Liberal-linked society puts Mark Latham on a pedestal – Brisbane Times

liberal-linked-society-puts-mark-latham-on-a-pedestal-–-brisbane-times

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This column has revealed with some amusement how Labor’s deputy Senate leader Kristina Keneally was improbably invited last month by the Liberal Party to attend a dinner and discussion featuring Queensland senator Amanda Stoker, hopeful NT senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Sky host Peta Credlin. We have been reliably informed that Keneally was otherwise engaged but bemused by the invite to the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum function.Now another Liberal-leaning group is taking the same pluralist approach to its invitation list. Victoria’s Samuel Griffith Society contacted members this week with an agenda for its 32nd conference in October. For the uninitiated, the society campaigns on issues such as freedom of speech and counts Liberal members, including former Victorian MP John Pesutto and Israel Folau’s barrister Stuart Wood, among its supporters.Its committee has chosen conservative crusader Stoker as one of its conference headliners. And the other? Step forward Labor’s former federal opposition leader Mark Latham, who now leads Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in NSW. A bio attached to Latham provided by the society fails to mention his current political party, or the decade he spent representing Labor in Federal Parliament.The Liberals’ broad church stretches even broader these days. Haven’t any of them read The Latham Diaries?Delay delayThe state memorial service for former Liberal Party leader and ambassador to Washington, Andrew Peacock, is another victim of the COVID curse. The service, which was offered by Scott Morrison, was to have been held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday at 11am. It has been delayed to a date to be fixed. A private funeral for Peacock was held in the US shortly after he died in April.Also rescheduled: Chadstone Shopping Centre’s 60th birthday. With a positive COVID-19 case visiting the centre on May 26, the retail institution is a tier-two exposure site. The celebrations have been rescheduled to June 24.Sailing downfallAny yacht race can have only one winner. So, too, an off-water collision between some of the sailing fraternity’s highest-profile members — and biggest egos — over eligibility rules for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.In this Port Phillip Bay-sized skirmish, millionaire yachtsman and retired investment banker Matt Allen emerged in front after securing two grovelling apologies from Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Hugo van Kretschmar and Queensland yachtie Mark Hipgrave.This was in the wake of a defamation spat which included a GoFundMe appeal and an online Adolf Hitler meme. Spicy, indeed.At issue: whether boats with just two crew members should be eligible for the great race. A vexing matter indeed. Credit: Illustration: John ShakespeareThe stoush broke out last year when the race organisers gave the green light to two-handed boats entering the offshore race for the first time in its 75-year history.But the yacht club backlipped after Allen, a former commodore and two-time race winner on Ichi Ban, and others pointed out the smaller boats carried an auto-helm system allowing them to be piloted by a computer.Many two-handed skippers were furious.In November, Hipgrave posted a lampoon of Allen using a well-known scene from the Nazi film Downfall famous for being made into an online meme - with the captions changed to be about his position on two-handed sailing and the Sydney to Hobart. It’s clear that Allen did not appreciate the comparison with Hilter. He launched defamation proceedings days later.Apologies unreservedHipgrave launched a GoFundMe appeal that was headed “Help me fend off Matt Allen”. Apparently no fan of Allen, Van Kretschmar donated $1000 while also letting fly at the Ichi Ban skipper in a Facebook post. And this week, both men issued serious apologies.“The video ridiculed Mr Allen, and it and my GoFundMe comments conveyed a number of seriously defamatory imputations about him. I accept that those imputations are completely false, and acknowledge that I should not have created the video and circulated it to others, nor referred to Mr Allen in the terms I did on the GoFundMe page,” Hipgrave said.“I sincerely apologise to Mr Allen for my actions ... I note that the defamation proceedings have now been resolved, and that Mr Allen did not require me to pay any damages as part of the settlement agreement.”Van Kretschmar also issued an unreserved apology.“My comments were seriously defamatory of Mr Allen. They suggested that he had unfairly, disingenuously and corruptly influenced the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to exclude double-handed sailing entrants from eligibility for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race … I acknowledge that the suggestions I made about Mr Allen are false and should never have been made.”No damages were paid, but both men agreed to pay costs.The embarrassed yacht club had already reached a compromise. Two-handed yachts can race in the Sydney to Hobart but will not be eligible for the overall handicap prize, the Tattersall Cup, while a committee reviews the situation.LoadingFaithful fansIt’s good to see the political crowd getting behind this year’s AFL after the COVID-19 turmoil of last year. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith were both guests at Carlton Football Club at the MCG as the Blues took on Jeff Kennett’s Hawthorn on May 22. It’s worth noting the Treasurer is Carlton’s No.1 ticket holder and that didn’t just entitle him to a plus one, but four additional guests. Also worth noting: Frydenberg’s very good mate, former PwC boss Luke Sayers, is club president.The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.Most Viewed in NationalLoading
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