Will Julie Bishop go to the polo?


Gina Rinehart and Julie Bishop in the Emirates marquee at the Melbourne Cup.Is she damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

My advice would be to concoct some phoney excuse – an important ministerial meeting to discuss …. – and send apologies.  It is just such a bad look.

Fairfax Media has given us the lowdown about why she attends these sorts of events – polo, races, football – and it is very telling what she had to say.

It’s part of the job – no it’s not.

It’s a fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there = crony capitalism mixed up with elite snobbery.

Soft lobbying = corruption.

Here is the piece:

At the time, Ms Bishop told this reporter the value of attending events such as the Melbourne Cup.

“It’s all part of the job,” she said.

“Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

Now, in the wake of Ms Bishop’s admission she charged taxpayers $2716 to show up at last year’s Portsea Polo, politicians’ going to the races or the footy finals – and who pays for them to get there – is under scrutiny.

A former senior government adviser said there was a value in politicians being in the same room (or tent) as the nation’s business leaders.

He said the opportunity for “soft lobbying” was highly valuable.

Politicians, he said, usually get to see the guest list so they know who will likely target them for a “pull aside”, diplo-speak for a quiet chat.

But he questioned the value of an event such as the polo, which is generally regarded as more purely social in nature and doesn’t attract the same calibre of guest as, say, the races or the football.

“Every time their photo gets taken there’d be a portion of the public who [would] question it,” he said.

Judy Romano’s firm, Romano Beck, looks after the guest list for Emirates at Flemington and was responsible for the VIP guest list at last year’s Portsea Polo event.

Ms Romano said the social side of major events was invaluable to the politician, other guests and, of course, the sponsors.

“Julie Bishop … will work the room, she will talk about political issues and not shy away from them. She is so approachable,” Ms Romano said.

“She’s very glamorous but she is one of the people.”

“When you say you have Julie Bishop on your guest list, you can be excited – it’s so powerful,” Ms Romano said.

“[Emirates] is one of the sponsors that attracts the big wheels – it’s not just the fluffy D-list celebrities. It’s where deals are done.”

Ms Bishop was due to attend this Saturday’s event as a guest of the sponsor, Alfa Romeo. On Wednesday morning, organisers were unable to provide an update on her attendance.

The former adviser said it could look like an admission of wrongdoing if Ms Bishop was to pull out of the event amid the current scandal.

He said if she is to attend, she’d probably be making sure she pays for the trip in full out of her own pocket, regardless of whether she’s doing legitimate government business by attending.

Sources told Fairfax Media that Ms Bishop’s claim last year, including $2177 on flights, $416 on car travel and the standard $123 travel allowance, likely did not include accommodation as her partner, David Panton, owns a property on the Mornington Peninsula where they were likely staying that weekend.

Ms Bishop’s office said in response to the revelations: “The Minister was invited and attended in her official capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.” (What? To watch some ponies being ridden by men carrying sticks.)

 

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44 Responses to Will Julie Bishop go to the polo?

  1. teddy bear

    Maybe I should hold a BBQ somewhere and write up a fake guest list to send to some ministers, along with a fake menu full of lots of expensive sounding stuff.

    Do you reckon anyone would turn up?

  2. Infidel Tiger

    We have an NBN.

    There is zero need for any Ministerial travel.

  3. Bear Necessities

    Term Limits please.

    She has been there since 1998. That’s long to get rich. She is just being greedy now.

  4. Bear Necessities

    Term Limits please.

    She has been there since 1998. That’s long enough to get rich. She is just being greedy now.

  5. Ray

    “Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

    This is code for anyone who is not there is not worth seeing. That means the vast majority of ordinary Australians.

    First prize for Self Important Out of Touch Politician.

  6. incoherent rambler

    Please encourage the hag to keep doing shyte like this.
    It will hasten the Trumpening.

  7. hzhousewife

    We have an NBN.

    I remember the “paperless office” – an actual one in Washington DC where a friend of mine worked in the early 80’s. We’re all paperless now of course. And coinstantly video-conferencing.

  8. Squirrel

    Having visions of a ‘Strayan version of the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady (My Fare, Lady….?).

  9. Pat K

    Ms Bishop was due to attend this Saturday’s event as a guest of the sponsor, Alfa Romeo.

    Well, why aren’t they paying the freight?

  10. alexnoaholdmate

    She can go the polo. Good on her. A good chance to mix with movers and shakers, maybe cuddle up to some big-time contributors. Nothing wrong with that.

    It’s charging the taxpayer for travel to these events – which, in the sense that they are a chance to ‘network’, are political, not ministerial – that’s the issue.

    As Judith points out, how can her attendance in an official capacity be required at the polo? Is she making any major announcements there? Is she holding an official meeting with constituents?

    If not, then it’s a political matter rather than an official one, and there is no reason for taxpayers to fund it.

  11. Baldrick

    ‘The age of entitlement is over.’
    (h/t some Stupid.Fucking.Liberal)

  12. H B Bear

    Ah yes. Plenty of benefits from being inside the tent.

  13. Judith Sloan

    The trouble with going to the polo this year and paying her own expenses is that she is admitting she made a mistake last year by claiming expenses for this same event.

  14. Scavenger

    If “movers & shakers’, rent seekers & any other wanting to see/do business with a government Minister they can bloody well make an appointment to go see them in the Ministerial Office on their own dime. I suppose that could be a little difficult though given the miniscule amount of time Ministers seem to spend in Canberra. A Polo match. Bloody Hell.

  15. min

    I have been to a function where she was present all I can say is there is much noise , cocktail trivia conversations and not much chance of an in depth one. Kroger was there too and I got fobbed off on the question I asked. It was election time and I wanted to know why LNP were not going in hard re Shorten and unions especially after findings of TURC.

  16. Denise

    Going to be trouble down at mill if they keep this up.

  17. H B Bear

    It’s a modern version of the fairy tale.

    The part of Cinderella will be played by Lord Waffleworth’s performing stick insect, Madame Defarge. The ugly sisters will be played by the Persian Dwarf, Boy Wonder and kd wong. The Comcar pumpkin will be dragged by Australian taxpayers randomly selected by the ATO.

  18. Denise

    Or should i say ‘Down at the coal face’ … oh wait

  19. hzhousewife

    The trouble with going to the polo this year and paying her own expenses is that she is admitting she made a mistake last year by claiming expenses for this same event.

    sensational popcorn event !

  20. H B Bear

    ‘The age of entitlement is over.’
    (h/t some Stupid.Fucking.Liberal)

    Currently gorging himself on the taxpayers’ tit to the tune of $350k+ a year while booking up his childcare expenses.

  21. Some History

    To watch some ponies being ridden by men carrying sticks.

    Judith, if you’re going to describe polo in that way, it gives the impression that it’s a silly, expensive pastime of the snooty class. You’ve left out the critical ingredient that pulls all the parts together….. that gives profound meaning to the entire endeavour – hitting a little white ball with said sticks.

  22. Cannibal

    Well, why aren’t they paying the freight?

    Because it would have to be shown on her register of interests.
    Better to hide the interest by bleeding the taxpayer.

  23. Dr Faustus

    Well, why aren’t they paying the freight?

    If Alfa paid the freight it would have to be recorded on Ms Skeleton’s Register of Interests as sponsored travel in excess of $300. Suddenly she has a conflict of interest and potentially a personal tax issue.

    Never going to happen when the OPM Travel Club is there to help.

  24. Dr Faustus

    Sorry, Cannibal. I was writing when you posted.

  25. Art Vandelay

    “Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

    Apart from regular voters and taxpayers of course.

  26. A Lurker

    Darhling, those plebs are just awful, ever so tiresome that we need them for votes. Oh yes, another refill on the Bollinger please darhling. I feel absolutely famished, is there any more of that smoked salmon, don’t you agree it is just delish, and those truffles are to die for!”

  27. test pattern

    #julieleaks

    I have made a decision. As of today all new DFAT meeting rooms will be named after famous blondes starting with Goldie Hawn. Goldie said to me ‘ Julie it’s just a little issue but it’s symbolic’ and I said ‘Goldie I know exactly where you’re going with this.’ All other meeting rooms will be renamed retrospectively after our native bowel flora and from now on all talking points will be given to media in the E.Coli Room.

  28. MickofBrisbane

    “Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

    Well, maybe some of them. Otherwise you might miss a few, Jules.

  29. MickofBrisbane

    “Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

    The most fantastic networking opportunity for who, exactly?

  30. C.L.

    How many times do I have to tell Julie Bishop to stop wearing sleeveless frocks?

  31. I can neither ride nor sail anymore as I’m seriously crippled up a bit.
    Thank Odin one doesn’t have to mix with those wankers why more.

  32. candy

    How many times do I have to tell Julie Bishop to stop wearing sleeveless frocks?

    ha ha. Also she needs collars on her blouses and tops. She’s at an age that particular part of anatomy, the crinkly neck, is best discreetly covered with a pretty blouse with collar and sleeves etc.

  33. If there’s someone richer or more important than her, she will suck up to them and act like she’s besties with them. I saw that behaviour on Q&A from her years ago, and it looked strange because it appeared that she was sucking up to her supposed enemies.

    Trust your instincts.

  34. Apart from regular voters and taxpayers normal people of course.

    I fixes it!

  35. None

    Why don’t these a-hole spondors and hosts just pay 5he friggin aiffares and accommodation themselves? Still to be declared by pollies but the capitalists can pay.

  36. Social climbers are a world apart.
    They are a worry but, hey, I was always left alone.
    Can’t imagine why.

  37. village.prefect

    Colin should have taken the gig.

  38. john constantine

    If only voting in Australia could be restricted to those that get an invite to watch the cup from the right tent.

    It also reveals what a blow it is to the career hopes of those that are excluded from the right tents, as punishment for not progressing the agenda of Stalin enthusiastically enough.

  39. Crossie

    “She’s very glamorous but she is one of the people.”

    No, she is not. If she were she would be reviled like the rest of us.

  40. Crossie

    Why does Julie Bishop need to seek out the movers and shakers to network with when she is in the driving seat? If they want something they can seek her out and at their expense.

  41. T Bull

    Its only a rort if you’re not in on it.

  42. Aaron

    Why does Julie Bishop need to seek out the movers and shakers to network with when she is in the driving seat? If they want something they can seek her out and at their expense.

    Because she’s seeking them out for her own personal aggrandisement (possibly to secure a post-politics career) and not looking to achieve any measurable benefit to the taxpayer.

  43. Des Deskperson

    A sad and bad aspect of all this is that when Julie is actually back in her Minister for Foreign Affairs suite in Canberra supposedly carrying out her core official duties, she is notorious for her laziness and disorder.

  44. Econocrat

    She’s the Foreign Minister for fuck sake and this was in the strategically important nation of Port Philip Bay.

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