Old Abbotts are hard to break

Old Abbotts are hard to break

September 19, 2023

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Tony Abbott’s prime ministership was short-lived, and memorable for mostly wrong reasons.

But for conservatives in need of a feel-good story, the 10-year anniversary of Abbott’s landslide 2013 election win was an opportunity to let their greying hair down and reminisce about better times.

BenkeCredit: Joe Benke

On Friday, a crowd of about 250 gathered to celebrate Abbott’s ascension to The Lodge and ruminate on what could’ve been.

The revellers included several relics of the Abbott government, such as former prime minister Scott Morrison, Abbott’s treasurer Joe Hockey, current shadow treasurer Angus Taylor, and ex-Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz.

CBD remembers the Abbott years for its moments of absurdism – the threat to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, the politically ruinous decision to give Prince Philip a knighthood, the large, inexplicable bite into a raw onion.

On Friday night, Abbott attempted a nostalgic defence of his legacy but couldn’t help launching a few attacks on the Indigenous Voice to parliament. He also called Peter Dutton Australia’s next prime minister, telling the faithful that you could never count out an unpopular leader. He would know.

Dutton wasn’t seated with Abbott on the big table though, with the prime spot going to Alan Jones. In a rambling speech, Jones repeatedly lamented the Abbott government’s downfall as having come too soon.

Hockey, whose key contribution to Abbott’s cabinet was the infamous “lifters and leaners” budget of 2014, took a swipe at the Albanese government’s closeness with Australia’s least favourite business right now.

“Qantas wanted $4 billion from us, and we said no,” Hockey said.

Abbott’s chief-of-staff turned Sky News incendiary, Peta Credlin, roused the crowd: “Like all good Liberal functions, no Welcome to Country!”


For most performers, breaking a leg is merely a superstitious idiom.

But for former Split Enz frontman Tim Finn, it took on fresh resonance during a performance at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre on Wednesday.

Watchers tell CBD that during the gig Finn was taking the audience through his lifetime of songs, when, during a quiet moment, a cry from the audience went up.

Finn echoed it for the crowd: “Sign my leg.”

Finn, ever the gentleman and congenial performer, invited the fan up on stage, “get up here,” he said, with a dutiful roadie emerging to help.

But their help was not needed, for up came the leg, alone. It was a detached prosthetic leg.

Tim called for a pen, then inquired after the prosthetic owner’s name – Jackie, as it turned out.

Gracefully, he wrote a longish message and the show went on.

We contacted Finn to ask if he’d like to add anything, but he thought the story should, um, stand as is.

Break a leg indeed.


In the current climate, labelling the consultant class “unconscionable” is akin to handing out speeding tickets at Bathurst.

But that’s exactly what talent acquisition firm Acquisitive Intelligence is alleging KPMG engaged in by failing to pay a $553,000 bill for recruitment services they provided the professional services giant.

Acquisitive Intelligence also say that KPMG breached their contract and consumer law.

Court documents filed by Acquisitive Intelligence earlier this month say KPMG had planned to implement a program called “Deal Value Accelerator” and required intelligence gathering to find personnel to work within the program.

“The defendant engaged in conduct…characterised as unconscionable,” the documents say.

Of all the consultant firms forced to air their dirty laundry in the Senate inquiry (we’re looking at you, PwC and Deloitte), KPMG got off lightly.

KPMG says it intends to defend the claim. Acquisitive Intelligence, however, didn’t return our calls, texts or email.


Former opposition leader Matthew Guy is learning the hard way that you don’t want to draw the ire of the increasingly active portion of eccentric political activists in Melbourne.

Former Liberal leader Matthew Guy.Credit: Jason South

Last December, David Vincent lost to Guy in Bulleen by a whopping 47.6 per cent.

Despite that, Vincent tried to petition to have the result overturned, claiming Guy was “not a fit and proper person to sit in parliament” and that Guy’s how-to-vote cards were “offensive to certain tastes” (whatever that means), asking the court to appoint Vincent to the job instead.

During the hearing in March, Vincent claimed Guy committed “malfeasance in public office” and voters had acted “under duress” in electing him.

Justice John Dixon unsurprisingly sided with Guy, calling Vincent’s allegations “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious”, an “exercise in vanity”, an abuse of process, and “scandalous and unsupported”.

Guy spent $9,835.90 defending it all.

And now, he’s suing Vincent to get the money back.

Who wins in all of this? Mostly the lawyers, it seems.


Property bro Tim Gurner’s foot-in-mouth comments about “arrogant” workers last week gave CBD no shortage of mirth. They also went viral worldwide, caused Gurner to go silent on the socials, and finally put out a grovelling statement apologising to the tradies of Australia for causing offence.

Happily, this won’t be the last we hear from Gurner. The almost-billionaire and biohacker (he wants to live forever so he can sell more apartments) is front and centre at next month’s Forbes Business Summit in Sydney, an event that uses the tagline, “Tap into the Minds of Icons”.

Rich Lister property developer Tim Gurner has caused a global stir with his call for economic pain.Credit: Michael Quelch

Other icons will include former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate, of Cartier watch fame, WiseTech founder Richard Wise and crypto gaming entrepreneurs Robbie and James Ferguson.

While Gurner is doubtless the real drawcard thanks to his interview, which reached as far as US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he’d be well advised to stay uncontroversial. Or maybe he can dole out a few sage lessons on weathering media pile-ons.

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