By Gerald Henderson
Isn’t it good to see Nine Newspapers’ Red Bandannaed One back from his WEB (aka Well Earned Break). Peter FitzSimons who travelled to Singapore (and perhaps beyond) on a Qantas business class flight in late December wearing – you’ve guessed it – a red rag on his head.
As was befitting, the stand-in talents for the Sun-Herald’s “Fitz on Sunday” column were part-time comedians Mark Humphries and Dom Knight (one of the original Chaser Boys – average age 471/2). Both were depicted by Nine Newspapers wearing a red rag on their respective heads – see below.
It’s difficult to think of any issue where Fitz got it right last year. He was wrong about the outcome of the NSW State election and wrong about the outcome of the Federal election. In the latter case, as reported in MWD, The Red Bandannaed One was a booster for the Singapore-based Alex Turnbull’s attempt to bring about a Labor-led minority government.
Readers will recall Fitz’s column on 5 May 2019 headed “Alex Turnbull puts his money where his non-Liberal mouth is”. It contained the following comment:
Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex, who “went rogue” on twitter shortly after the political coup that took down his father, and has continued since – mostly criticising hard-right Liberal politics – was particularly engaged last week.
The issue has been whether, as reported, he has or has not donated money to independents Zali Steggall and Kerryn Phelps. Alex Turnbull denied that he had donated a cent to either, but makes no bones about where his political sympathies lie – and they are not with the right wing of the Libs.
When I asked him what his hope was for this election, he said: “My hope is for a Labor minority government with moderate independents holding the balance. And I’d like [Gosford rector] Father Rod Bower and [ACT independent candidate] Anthony Pesec to get seats in the Senate.”
How much have you donated in this election? “Six figures.”
Gee, that went well. In the Senate vote in NSW, Rod Bower received a total of 0.6 per cent of the primary votes. And neither Anthony Pesec nor Gary Kent – managed to defeat the Liberal Party’s Zed Seselja in the ACT’s Senate election.
As to the $100,000 (at least) political donation which your man Turnbull claimed to have given to Independents, the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” commented on Wednesday that, according to the Australian Electoral Commission’s report, Young Alex provided a total of $20,000 to two ACT independent candidates – Anthony Pesec and Gary Kent. Which is some $80,000 short of six figures, according to MWD’s count. Moreover, Turnbull Junior apparently gave the Reverend Bower nothing – the clergyman’s total campaign donations amounted to a miserly $1611. All from Independents for Climate Action Now. [Thanks for the tip, Joe. – MWD Ed.]
It’s possible that the Lion of Singapore gave money to the other Independent candidates below the level ($13,800) that has to be declared. But it’s also possible that Alex Turnbull broke a promise. In which case, will the Red Bandannaed One make a clarification on Sunday? Surely Fitz is not the purveyor of fake news.
Can You Bear It?
Originally published in The Australian Newspaper.