KOOYONG CAPERS: Jason Thomas attacked as the fight for a glittering Liberal prize is under way

doltkooyong The Kooyong Liberal preselection contest will be a source of fascination and joy for political voyeurs throughout the year.

One candidate has emerged in left-wing press speculation, Jason Thomas, who has not previously appeared on VEXNEWS’s radar so we’ll take a good insiders look at him and review the rest of the field in our trademarked nasty way.

Prospective Liberal candidate for Kooyong Jason Thomas has been attacked by Lib insiders as an untrustworthy muscle-bound “nutter.”

Opponents describe Thomas as “built like a brick sh*t-house and twice as thick.”

He was a member and President of the Kew branch for a number of years and also became a Policy Assembly delegate through Kooyong Electorate Council.

Both the Kroger and Baillieu factions regard him with little more than contempt, saying all that male testosterone has left him a little crazy and marked as “not to be trusted”. Retiring MP leftard Petro Georgiou once tolerated Thomas but has since gone cold on him.

The blue rinse ladies of Kooyong sometimes struggle with his thick New Zealand accent – suspecting he might be part Maori perhaps – with some of them horrified by the prospect of the Liberal He-Man representing them.

Insiders are also concerned saying that the international he has a colourful political past, having worked with the Nationals in NZ and the UK Conservatives. Tory sources say he was “let go” from their ranks for indiscretions and leaking of a gravely serious kind.

Thomas was at one stage during the Howard years the Government Relations Manager at Mayne Health, in charge of rent-seeking. Some say that Thomas was also affiliated with notorious Saddam Hussein money laundering outfit AWB and that as a gesture of solidarity with the shamed outfit, Jason continues to carry around a clearly marked AWB leather satchel when visiting CBR.

He kicked on from that well salaried gig to work at a firm called Sinclair Thomas where he worked with the illustrious NSW Liberal bovver boy Ian Kortlang on “campaigns”.

On their company website no clients or testimonials are listed. Perhaps they also mark the passing of fallen comrades with anonymous stars in the foyer as is the custom at Langley.

While working in “public affairs” was his cover, he served to position himself as a do-gooder version of Rambo, assisting with the distribution of medical equipment and supplies. He would frequently recount tales of being shot at by “gooks” and having to engage in legally dubious activities such as bribery to get the life-saving equipment to its intended destination.

This brave and heroic approach extends to politics too, with him extending the opportunity of employing him to nearly every politician he meets of the conservative persuasion, Nats excluded, even he has his standards.

One candidate to whom he extended the hand of friendship was Emmanuel Chiccello, of the south-east badlands. He cemented himself into local legend with his wacky campaign, partly financed by a cash donation of $50,000 from a colourful nightclub identity from the region who it is said has also made a good living from the unregulated pharmaceutical market.

Just the sort of chap the Liberals need in a “leadership” seat. Not.

The enterprising lad though has a Plan B in case he fails in the dash for Kooyong. He has also cast a covetous eye over Menzies, a neighbouring seat currently occupied by Kevin Andrews, the highly regarded senior former minister.

The unflappable Andrews is believed to have laughed off the prospect of being challenged, pointing to his much strengthened branch support following a tough fight in 2000. Critics insist Andrews has had his go and should make way for the next generation. Andrews is so low-key and hard to rattle that some jokingly speculate lithium is involved.

Another figure lurking ominously in the Kooyong hood is Baillieu staffer Simon Troeth who fantasises over Kooyong for himself and also fancies he could emerge in Box Hill should Clark shuffle off quietly into the Parliamentary Library one day and disappear.

Kroger folks insist that Josh Frydenberg still has enough numbers and a gee-whiz CV with which he can win over swingers in a non Austen Powers kinda way.

Some even claim that “Metro” Petro Georgiou jumped before he was inevitably pushed, so nervous was he about the gathering storm.

The IPA head John Roskam is seen by some as the lead Baillieu faction candidate. Either that or the #3 Senate spot for him, which some party insiders believe should go to a Liberal woman.

John Pesutto, the highly regarded industrial lawyer, is also from the Baillieu group but is seen by some of their hard-heads like David Davis of improperly consorting with “the other side.”

They point to Pesutto’s acceptance of an offer from the Kroger forces to him to take up the Chairmanship of the Constitutional committee, which some Baillieuistas saw as a betrayal and an indication Pesutto is a pragmatist. Some see him as factionally unreliable by comparison to Roskam who they count as solid. Pesutto’s defenders say he is a strong supporter of Baillieu who is just not interested in fighting old battles.

Some of those battles have seen Baillieu backer Andrew McIntosh lose his electoral chair, suggesting to some the Kooyong Baillieu faction heartland is under siege.

This is welcomed by the Kroger ascendancy because they see there is a desperate need in Spring Street Liberal ranks to “take out the trash” to present the strongest possible team in 2010 in what could be the middle of a serious economic slowdown as the effects of very nervous banks are felt throughout.

They will – as ever – face the sternest resistance from the Baillieu faction whose spiritual leader isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty by quizzing new arrivals at branch meetings in his area about “why they’ve joined the party” and where their loyalties lie. His presumption that all membership recruits are part of a factional ploy causes much embarrassment and consternation among Liberals, our sources say.

Baillieu’s opponents in the area insist Frydenberg could be part of the answer for a revitalised Liberal party. They say they hate him because he has now established himself as a part of the Liberal scene in Kooyong and is much less able to demonised by Petro because he has a personal rapport with most branch members. No longer the Johnny come lately, Josh has demonstrated his bona fides by raising plenty of money for the party and patiently attending many local party branch meetings making a favourable impression.

Unlike Ted, increasingly seen as an isolated and grouchy figure in the party who refuses to move on and let go.



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26 responses to “KOOYONG CAPERS: Jason Thomas attacked as the fight for a glittering Liberal prize is under way

  1. ross fox

    I think I should also be the subject of speculation…

  2. petro's lovechild

    Forget that skips, I’m taking the seat in the spirit of souvlaki.

  3. Vince

    Absolutely, Ross!

  4. Chairman Lui

    Box Hill is mine!

  5. ABJ Anyone but Josh

    Obviously all fed by a Josh fanatic, Frydenberg has disenfranchised more Kooyong members than he knows. The slogan is ABJ anyone but Josh

  6. McPerton

    My Dear Fatty, the Dearest of Dear Fatties,

    I write to you from my lofty new perch in the City by the Bay. I have now taken up residence in my prestigious new diplomatic post of International Trade Commissioner for Victoria (and, dare I say it, International Man of Mystery and Human Rights).

    I am pleased to inform you that you will be the recipient of regular correspondence from me. In fact, you are, right now, the lucky inaugural recipient of the first:

    McPerton Postcard from San Francisco

    First, I am pleased to report that my new job pays quite well. In fact, San Francisco Trade Commissioner pays $127,721, plus Allowances. This will now enable me to live the lifestyle to which a leading Human Rights barrister should by now be accustomed.

    Alas, my work at the Human Rights Bar was not as remunerative as I may have led others to believe. But his was surely due to the success of the Charter of Rights in ensuring that the Human Rights of all Victorians are immaculately upheld without the need for litigious recourse.

    I am busy cruising the city each day drumming up trade opportunities over lunch in the LGBT District. As I always point out to each new prospective investor in Victoria, they must be well-versed in the local customs and traditions of our state before they can hope to succeed there. And, as both you and I know, my Dearest of Dear Fatties, there is no more important local custom in the fair city of Melbourne than its glorious tradition of CBD lunching.

    Please pay me a visit – charged to the Mayoral expense account of course. I have lined up some nice young investors who assure me that they wish to peddle their wares to Victorian local councils. I understand they would like the councils to invest in some nice collateralised mortgage securities. I don’t know what such things are, but it sounds like a marevellous investment opportunity to me, and my new investor friends tell me they’re a bit down on their luck right now and could do with the business.

    So, tootle-loo for now. Missing you already.

  7. Goose

    I will need to visit you in San Fran, McPerton, and write some poetry about my observances of the LGBT District.

  8. Honeypot

    Why didn’t I get a prestigious foreign posting? I was a Minister – that upstart McPerton was only ever a backbencher.

  9. J Troethy

    What everyone has missed is the near total collapse of the former factions within the Liberal Party.

    Take the Costello/Kroger group – well for starters the 2 of them are offsde with each other big time over a wide range of issues. Secondly, neither has much direct influence anynore (except Costello in Higgins), certainly next to none over Admin, including D Kemp. While Ronno has tried to take over this group he has largely failed. Even Kroger friend party treasurer Glynn is thought to have resigned from admin though he was never a real factional warrior. Former President Hannan is well out of it now. Who are the KC warriors there now – no one who will fight that hard for them that’s for sure.

    The Baillieu group has always been a joke. Possible exception is that David Davis does have a lot of say in some of the eastern city electorates.

    Baillieu supporters know that if he loses the next State election next year he is finished. Davis does not have it to be the figurehead of a large grouping.

    Pesutto, Roskam, Josh F etc know these factions are essentially dead. They are keen not to make enemies and all have put the yards in to ensure no one senior in the former factions will actively oppose them.

    D Kemp is of course well above grubby politics, particularly factions (though many will remember he was a beneficiary of KC largesse many years ago).

    So when will people stop and assess the new reality of the Liberal Party? I guess Ronno amd Davis won’t want to but their followers know the truth that the former groupings are going down fast.

    What will replace them? I don’t know.

  10. Honeypot

    McPerton, ith there Compulthory Thudent Unionithm in California?

  11. Rivers

    Have I ever told anyone that I can’t stand RDR?

  12. Dr Dre

    Honeypot, 21:07, your spelling is atrocious.

  13. busybee

    I am not sure whether your oft repeated comment that John Pesutto is a “well respected industrial relations lawyer” is true or not. What is a certainty is that Special Counsel at DLA Phillips Fox is code for never going to be good enough to make Partner. He is also a slippery, useless hack of a political operator. That is widely acknowledged by all “senior Liberal sources”.

  14. busybee

    Jason Thomas is not even worth commenting on, let alone writing an entire article about him. He will be 2009’s Alistair Armstrong…

  15. Why has McPerton received such a sought-after posting from the Government? Surely such positions should be awarded to those who work tirelessly to further the international interests and reputation of this state by upholding the Menzies Legacy, rather than unemployed former backbenchers pretending to be barristers.

    If McPerton is qualified for appointment to such a post by the Labor Government then I am doubly qualified – I have done infinitely more than McPerton in support of this Government. He only crossed the floor once in support of Human Rights (and his own Human Rights practice) whereas I single-handedly bequethed to the Government the commanding Lower House majority it has enjoyed for the past 6 years.

    I am also well-qualified for the position of Trade Commissioner – in fact, I could hold all five of Victoria’s Trade Commissioner positions simultaneously. I am well-versed in international Trade and the Secret negotiations which surround it. For I am, am I not, a published authority on the Law of Trade Secrets.

    But most importantly, since the crowning achievement of the career of Menzies himself was to be appointed to the illustrious overseas posting of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, then surely the career of the strongest upholder of the Menzies Legacy must also be similarly recognised by appointing my good self to the position of Lord (no, better make it Republican) Warden of the Cinque Trade Commissioners.

    To do anything less would be a betrayal of the Menzies Legacy.

  16. Dan The Man

    As a Gadens Partner in IR there is no doubt that I AM a well respected industrial relations lawyer.

  17. Joshy

    I am a former Champion of the Kooyong Tennis Club. Vote for me!

  18. Jamie - The Other Max

    I am also a candidate for Kooyong. As a sports administrator that has enrolled in a VUT law degree I have a lot to offer the electors of Kooyong.

  19. RDR

    I can’t stand you Rivers, Felicity Kennett was right about you, you look like a ‘Uncle Chester’.

  20. Astounded of Melbourne

    Dr Death & Shardonnay are valiantly struggling to keep their faction alive. Most entertaining.

  21. Bamboozled

    WAstounded of Melbourne | January 23, 2009, 0:18 – who is Dr Death????

  22. Anonski

    Not sure who Dr Death is – but could be a reference to David Davis – the chiropractor.

    Much to the bemusement of proper doctors in the medical profession, Chiros style themselves as “Dr”!

    Snigger, snigger.

    If it is a reference to David Davis I note that since entering parliament he has never styled himself as Dr Davis.

  23. No More Mercy

    I am a real “Dr”, a DBA no less.

    I am also a physio – and when it comes to physios v chiros, physios reign supreme – much like me!

  24. Fatty Doyle

    Victor whilst I am in St Petersburg on my crucial MCC junket, no I mean important business, I am going to try and meet Olga Titov that lovely young lady I have met on the Russian RSVP site. You should see how she can put her ankles behing her ears.

  25. public observer

    Last time i saw chaddonay she was having a wow of a time getting pissed at the caulfield cup. She’s such an asset for the labor party

  26. anon

    At least Chaddonay keeps the good Dr Muddler Wooldridge amused under the sheets!

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