Alex Turnbull puts his money where his non-Liberal mouth is


LUNCH WITH LAWSY? ROGERS THAT

Late last year, when I was chatting to John Laws on 2SM while doing the book publicity rounds, the subject of his famed enemy and ancient rival Bob Rogers came up. Laws was frank enough to acknowledge he couldn’t remember what they had originally fallen out over, only that they hadn’t broken bread together for something like five decades. When I suggested I organise to take the two of them to lunch, he said sure, and I promised to do it. Last Monday, however, while back on the book round – The Catalpa Rescue, thanks for asking – when I said I really would get on to it shortly, he said they did it without me. Yup, just before Easter, Laws, 83, and Rogers, 92, had lunch with their mutual old friends Brian Henderson, 87, Col Joye, 82, and that crazy kid John Singleton, just 77 years old. It took place at the Star Casino, in the Century restaurant just near Laws’ Pyrmont studio, with easy access for Rogers who does not move well these days.

Let’s be friends … Bob Rogers and John Laws at a much earlier make-up lunch, where Laws offered a posey of flowers as a peace gesture, in 1977. Credit:John Patrick O’gready

“It was great,” Laws said lightly, “and we talked warmly.”

Between them, four of those five pretty much owned the Sydney airwaves through the ’60s, ’70s and much of the ’80s, and it is a wonderful thing they’re all still going strong – ish – nearly into the 2020s.

NO NAME, NO GLORY

It has been heart-warming to spend a couple of days in Christchurch this week where I can report that the city, though still grieving from the mosque massacres six weeks ago, is stoically getting on with things. Most interesting to me was that of all the people I spoke to, none could recall the name of “the shooter”, or “the accused” as he is referred to. The admonition of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to never speak his name has been observed, and whatever the law will say about his guilt or innocence, anonymity will be his fate.

THIS THRONE IS YOURS, PRINCE CHARLES

A twitter exchange between myself and Senator Derryn Hinch arose this week in the defamation proceedings taken by Sarah Hanson-Young against her one-time senatorial colleague, David Leyonhjelm – but it was all in positive context, so all good! On a much lighter note, Hinch offered up the following tweet on Wednesday to a tweet I had done on the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, in April 1918. Said Hinch: “Anzac Day there last year was a truly special time in my life. Weird trifecta: PM Turnbull, Prince Charles and Hinch queued at the portaloo. Malcolm was explaining there was a urinal and a sit-down dunny. I told Charles he should take the throne . . .”

The Portaloo wasn't too far ... then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Prince Charles at the Anzac Day dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux last year.

The Portaloo wasn’t too far … then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Prince Charles at the Anzac Day dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux last year. Credit:AAP

JOKE OF THE WEEK

A Kiwi is hoping to emigrate to Australia and arrives at Kingsford Smith airport on a sunny Wednesday morning full of optimism for the future. Still, things do not go quite as planned …

“What is your business in Australia?” the customs officer asks him politely. “I wish to emigrate,” the Kiwi replies. “Do you have a criminal record?” the officer inquires. Stunned, the crestfallen Kiwi replies, “Geez, bro, I didn’t think you still needed one.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Fantastic. Good move. Well done, Angus.” It seems likely that Energy Minister Angus Taylor, previously the minister for cyber security, accidentally used his official Facebook page to reply to its own post about extra car spaces in his electorate.

WHAT THEY SAID

“The AKF thinks there are no more than 80,000 Koalas in Australia. This is approximately 1% of the 8 million Koalas that were shot for fur and sent to London between 1890 and 1927.” The Australian Koala Foundation in a press-release on Thursday.

“Leaving affordable housing to the market hasn’t worked and doesn’t work. This is what the market produces.” – Professor Nicole Gurran, co-author of a report for the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney that shows a lack of affordable housing is forcing people into substandard living conditions.

“She’s keen, I think. I reckon we watch this bitch dance, she’s hot.” – One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson recorded at a strip club during the party’s controversial trip to the US. Dickson, who is married, also claimed white women are better at sex and insulted Asian women. He has resigned.

A tearful Pauline Hanson on A Current Affair.

A tearful Pauline Hanson on A Current Affair. Credit:Nine

“I cop all this shit all the time and I’m sick of it, absolutely sick of it.” – Pauline Hanson after the Steve Dickson imbroglio, gets teary and angry with ACA’s Tracy Grimsahw. Yes, after a career built upon finding groups to marginalise and put upon, she is feeling marginalised and put upon herself.

“I’m culturally Anglican, so I learnt as a young boy to turn the other cheek and leave judgment to others. I’ve been absolutely consistent from preselection to election to seeking re-election that I’m a forward-looking, modern Liberal proudly representing a forward-looking, modern liberal community and that won’t change.” – Liberal Tim Wilson, being remarkably calm after a Victorian Liberal candidate, Peter Killin, publicly endorsed an attack on him as a “notorious homosexual”. Killin has resigned.

“We’re going to invest in the business.” – Antony Catalano on his plans after buying 170 Fairfax country newspapers for $115 million.

“The jury’s decision reflected the community’s commitment to three important pillars of a civil society: the rule of law, the respect for the sanctity of life, and the obligation of the police force to serve and protect. We believe this guilty verdict strengthen those pillars. We hope this will be a catalyst for further change.” – John Ruszczyk, father of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, after former police officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty of her death.

“He [David Leyonhjelm] knows I don’t like all men. I don’t like David Leyonhjelm.” – Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to David Leyonhelm’s barrister, Tony Morris, QC, in court.

“Briefly.” – Australia’s great contemporary poet Les Murray asked by Mark Colvin how he would be remembered. Les died this week.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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