Former state Labor MP Evan Thornley and his charming wife Tracey Ellery have severed their fundraising ties with the ALP following the debacle of his rejection of a Brumby government ministry and his acceptance of a job with a company that has its hand out for many millions of dollars of government subsidy.
Their vanity book publishing company Pluto Press – that had published a number of odd tomes ranging from the story of Australia’s Princess Mary Donaldson of Denmark to previously undiscovered manuscripts from the Race Mathews Collection – had previously subscribed to Progressive Business, Labor’s fundraising arm.
The Progressive Business subscription fee for corporates is normally around $1000 a year with events and functions potentially costing thousands more.
Sources familiar with the affairs of Progressive Business say that they were recently informed that Pluto Press was no longer interested in maintaining its membership. Tracey Ellery is believed to have personally ordered the severing of ties.
One disappointed Labor figure wondered “Was it simply a membership of convenience?”
Another thought it reflected on Thornley’s complete absence of loyalty and decency:
“He was happy to be seen to support Labor when it suited his ambitions. It’s quite ridiculous, he spent a fortune trying to get into Parliament and is now exiting with such a lack of grace that it’s little wonder we all hate him. In these fractious times, the one thing everyone can agree on is how evil Thornley proved to be.”
Thornley’s access to and relationships with government clearly played a crucial role in him being offered the chief executive’s position in the Australian arm of Better Place, a start-up company in Silicon Valley that plans to extract very large sums of money from taxpayers in the jurisdictions it hopes to operate in.
He has “truly p*ssed in the well”, one well-placed business observer familiar with Thornley’s method told VEXNEWS this afternoon. “I doubt he’ll still be there by this time next year. And this start-up is paying him $700k a year. It’s clearly going to end in tears, isn’t it?”