VETOED: Baillieu "Star Chamber" rejects Julian Sheezel's application to be Michael O'Brien's COS

An embarrassing face-off has occurred within Victorian Liberal ranks after the body formed by new Premier Ted Baillieu to vet potential ministerial staffers has decreed that Michael O’Brien’s choice for his chief of staff, federal deputy director Julian Sheezel, not an appropriate person for the position.

The news – exclusively reported here by the famed VEXNEWS Investigations Unit – highlights the role of the powerful group comprising state party director Tony Nutt, Baillieu COS Michael Kapel and the Nats Leader Peter Ryan’s chief of staff. The affectionate name for this group in government circles is: “the Star Chamber”. While an unpleasant name, this group plays an important role in saving ministers from themselves Liberals say, apparently even ordering Police checks on some applicants “just in case”.

This group has been very slow to approve minister’s proposed staff selections, according to Liberal sources, so much so that some worry the government could lose momentum going into the first parliamentary sitting in February.

Sources are at this stage uncertain about whether the ambitious Minister O’Brien will stand his ground and insist that Sheezel be hired.

Sheezel’s many critics tell VEXNEWS that this situation highlights what they say is the folly of federal director Brian Loughnane replacing the former deputy federal director James McGrath with “a bloke who can’t even get hired as one of 21 Victorian Government chiefs of staff.”

They say that McGrath excelled at the last federal election, helping deliver strong local campaigns to capitalise on the rising tide of anti-Rudd sentiment in Queensland that nearly unseated Labor.

The maneuvers around Sheezel – a former Victorian party director – comes at a time when relations within the “Kroger-Costello” group appear somewhat strained. Insiders say that Mitch Fifeld is upping the ante in his hostile moves against faction bosses Michael Ronaldson and Michael Kroger, even plotting and scheming to “nail” Senator Helen Kroger at the next round of Senate preselections. Fifeld is even believed to have made approaches to the Ted Baillieu faction about the possibilities, it is said.

However, the Baillieu faction, freshly revived from its “Buried” film-style coffin-dwelling, have long memories and have not forgotten or forgiven Fifeld’s bloody preselection battle in Brighton against senior Minister and deputy Victorian Liberal leader Louise Asher.

There are interesting days ahead for the unexpectedly successful Victorian division of the Liberal party. Their problems – sharing the rich bounty of success – can be reasonably designated in the “nice-to-have” category but they’ll be keen not to be seen as a do-nothing government that merely “considers suspending” past unpopular Brumby schemes but ultimately lets departments continue on auto-pilot as if nothing had changed.

While they’ve moved slowly on staff appointments, a few senior ones have started to come through with the Fin’s well-connected Mat Dunkley reporting yesterday on the appointment of Baillieu faction man Peter Poggioli as Louise Asher’s cos and Michael Brennan, a highly regarded former Rod Kemp staffer, has got the nod as COS to Kim Wells after an earlier favoured candidate also ran into the wrath of Star Chamber.

The government is reportedly intent on filling its ranks with more “grey hair” in contrast with the funky yoofs of the now fallen Team Brumby.



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81 responses to “VETOED: Baillieu "Star Chamber" rejects Julian Sheezel's application to be Michael O'Brien's COS

  1. Rampant

    C’mon Teddy. Let MO’B do his job. He’s competent enough – you just have to show trust…

  2. RDR

    Has Sheezel got a teenage sister as I might have a little job for her too?

  3. JA

    Typical of my nemesis, J-Rat, to act this way towards the Moby.

  4. Anon

    JA – that makes no sense.

  5. Long live the Jeffistas

    Disgraceful conduct by MOB, trying to hire the cancer of the party to a senior position.

  6. Just_In McKeegan

    Aunty Mitch – if you want to become a Jeffista I might join you in that pursuit.

    I once had some great and powerful friends in the Jeffista faction.

    I wonder if they will welcome me back?

  7. All The Way With JA

    See – J-Rat is a disgrace. JA would now be the member for Higgins had it not been for KOD putting her hand up.

  8. Rampant

    Geez – the way you Liberals hate each other makes the ALP factional fights look like Wiggle-Time.

  9. Adrian Jackson

    Good decision we do not want Sleezel in any position of influence in the Liberal Party. If he was CoS (over inflated title too – they are just clerks really)in an MP’s office he could spend his time playing factional politics rather than working.

    Sleezel’s staff at Liberal HQ when he was State Director running a Internet dirt campaign against the leader Big Ted.

    Sleezel was also party of the Zionist conspiracy against me when I was suspended from the party for 12 months in Jun 2003 for opposing the US invasion of Iraq and the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.

    PS: Good to see Marrickville Council in Sydney is boycotting Israeli products and government & institutional links.

  10. LOL

    Mitch knocking off Helen Kroger? What a joke.

    After Helen forced the Party’s hand against the Greens she is an absolute hero in the branches. If there is a preselection fight here, I would not want to be the one teling branch members to vote against Helen. What a joke.

    Mitch and Scott Ryan are also backing Sandra Mercer-Moore against Tony Snell for Party President, because Peter Costello promised to support her in return for backing Julian McGauren’s preselection…

    However, Snell is being backed by Helen Kroger, Michael Ronaldson, Sophie Mirabella, Jason Aldworth and Frank Greenstein and will romp home.

  11. Spring Street

    Correction LOL 15:00….

    Scott Ryan is telling Sandra that he is backing her, but he is telling Snell that he and Sandra “have to work it out themselves” and he is telling branch members he is not involved.

    What a joke.

  12. Steve Sensible

    Nice to see Adrian doesn’t bear any grudges.

  13. Adrian Jackson

    Hi Steve (11 Jan 11, 16:24 hrs) happy new years. As they say just bide your time and contribute to a debate when it is most appropriate.

  14. Adrian Jackson

    Also how can Sleezel be a federal deputy director in Canberra and a “CoS” in Victoria as well? Jack of many trades but master of none.

    Sleezel presided over a number of failed campaigns in Victoria and South Australia in recent years which proves my point.

  15. The Pynester

    I like the cut of Julian’s jib – even though he doesn’t share my passions.

  16. Wacko Jacko

    Did I ever tell you about the time the Joos kicked me out of the Liberal Party?

  17. RDR

    Do any young ladies need a ‘ride’ tonight?

  18. kimbo bimbo

    I love my treasury role. No need to understand the difference between capital and recurrent expenditure. I must be the luckiest dickhead to ever fill the treasury role in victorian politics. Here’s to keeping michael obrien away from the centre of attention!

  19. obvious

    “After Helen forced the Party’s hand against the Greens she is an absolute hero in the branches. If there is a preselection fight here, I would not want to be the one teling branch members to vote against Helen. What a joke.”

    Not hard to guess where this comment has come from. Helen K ‘forced the party’s hand’ on the Greens … talk about spin for open disloyalty in the middle of an election campaign.

  20. No More Mercy AM

    I will defeat Snell!

  21. evil bastard

    come on andrew – give us a full list of the staff appointments so far

  22. whatever

    but adrian, you are an anti-semite. There was no zionist conspiracy just a decency conspiracy.

  23. Double trouble

    has the IPA’s julie novak started as Well’s COS yet? Only this week she was speaking on behalf of the IPA about state taxes. The Libs are really crap at understanding that you can only wear one hat at a time

  24. i'll draw you a picture

    Here is Melbourne
    Now here is Israel
    Politics is local people

  25. Triple trouble

    Double trouble – you seem to have a bit of trouble with your facts.

    Once you’ve worked out the mistake in your posting I presume the Libs would be pleased to accept your grovelling apology.

    [Clue: refer to the second last paragraph of the article in the main body of this story]

  26. Adam Bandt

    I like little boys.

  27. double trouble

    Sorry triple trouble i had fallen asleep by then.

    Tad embarrassing given Wells office told DTF that Novak got the gig …

    I’ll apologise for getting the name of a Tory hack wrong when Robert Clark aplogises for his high pants

  28. Adrian Jackson

    Wacko Jacko (11 Jan 11, 21.12) Yeah, yeah, blah, blah.

    Many of them (Lib, Lab & even Greens) attended the Palais reception for a former Israeli President who was gaoled recently for being a rapist. Lots of classy people in Caulfield, Toorak and Brighton.

    Why cant the Melbourne Ports Libs win that electorate? 5th columnists that vote for a Zionist like Danby rather than their party at election time.

  29. Adrian Jackson

    whatever (12 Jan 11, 9.09) you are obviously to weak or scared to put your name on your comment as you know I will sue your for defamation if you did.

  30. Adrian Jackson

    Completely of this topic but I am very impressed with the Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh during the floods. She is on top of the issues and has a great depth of knowledge on specific aspect of the operation as well as the big picture. The flood operation will see her re-elected in the state election and rightfully so to in my opinion. Gillard is not very impressive though sympathetic.

  31. Steve Sensible

    Brumby looked on top of things after Black Saturday too. The time for political mudslinging will come after the water has gone.

  32. RDR

    Any teen girls like a job n my office? Txt me for an interview, courtesy ride home.

  33. whatever

    why do anti-semites have such thin skins?

  34. whatever

    if the swastika fits ….

  35. Andrew - come on!

    Let me be clear: i campaigned AGAINST Adam Bandt and I loathe The Greens but I would NOT let anyone have a cheap shot like the idiot who posted at 10.02am today.

    Grow the fuck up you knuckle dragging trolls. On that matter – I note that the hilarious RDR and Chrissy Pyne are back from leave but haven’t heard from Wendy and Boofa in a few days.

    Would love this site to be activelty monitored to stop the wank-fuelled drivel

  36. Adrian Jackson

    whatever (12 Jan 11, 15:26) I love my Asian semite friends in Palestine. I have white skin not thin skin.

  37. Boofa Leigh

    Hey Andrew – come on!

    Nice to see we have your attention 🙂

    Listen mate I am the only bully on this blog. If you don’t like it go and read the Age!

    OK Wenchy hang on, I am just trying sort out this wanker, your wanker will be there in 2 shakes…

  38. Drunk Guy

    Andrew, they allow all sorts of off topic slanging, cussing, rudeness and personal quips on this site, but don’t get too near the truth or your comment will be sanitised. Very good journalism, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  39. Long live the Jeffistas

    Under no circumstances would Ted allow (Title!) Sandra Mercer Moore (Post Nominals!) to be president of the Victorian Division. She is a member of the Cancer of the Party faction.

  40. Dr No More Mercy AM

    I will be President of the Party and Kev will be PM.

    It is my destiny.

  41. Boofa Leigh

    Hey all you Liberal Party faithfull, I am available to be
    President! I have some very interesting connections within the
    Party I sucked dry for 20 years…. Ah this $100,000/year tax payer
    funded indexed pension for life is as sweet as it gets.

  42. Miles

    But what about ME?

    What hasn’t anyone replied to my application to be a CoS?

  43. Anonymous

    @Dr No More Mercy AM: Two chances –
    Buckleys and none

  44. Darth Kroger

    The time is here and the time is NOW for Simon T Kroger to be President.

    Kroges the Younger – step up son. It is your destiny.

  45. Boofa Leigh

    Piss of Darth. I am the main man now!

  46. Wenchy

    Boofa is ‘Percy’ up for it tonight?

  47. On heat!

    Does anyone know which Victorian female MP was sighted recently in the leafy suburbs of Brighton wearing skimpy black satin shorts?
    Was it Sue Pennicuir?

  48. Boofa Leigh

    I am always ‘up’ to it Wenchy, but I notice that I am not your only squeeze on the block now?

  49. How many elections did Sheezel lose?

    Loyalty is a top prerequisite

  50. Wenchy

    As with your new “mentoring’ client Dirty Donna.

  51. hullsy dullsy

    Posted by Boofa Leigh | January 13, 2011, 6:22

    You are the Rob Hulls of this site. Bully…… Stop bullying the good people.

  52. hughie

    Andrew, “Star Chamber” is the standard Coalition term for reviewing applications to fill senior staff vacancies. It was in operation throughout the Howard Govt and the SMOS office acted as its secretariat.

  53. D.W

    Sue Pennicuik would not be seen dead in black satin shorts. Maybe Louise Asher?

  54. Boofa Leigh

    Dear Minister O’Brien,

    As the Wench has rejected me, I could be your COS! I know a little bit about the seat of Malvern too – you know, the local bikes etc etc

  55. Boofa Leigh

    Oh bloody nora what a day I’ve had. ‘They’ are back ‘down there’ I wondered why Percy was so itchy.

  56. Shambles

    I wish to nominate myself as a member of the Staff Selection Committee.

    I am a respected party strategist from the New South Wales division. I have an excellent record of placing distinguished staff in political offices, including my very good friends Adam Patrick Owens and Jeffrey Egan.

    It is strategies such as this that have made me so respected.

  57. Observer

    It would be FAR, FAR better if Ted and his team were to start sorting out the 40+ very senior positions held in Statutory Authorities and in key PS ranks by well placed ALP machine people.

    I hope Ted understands that these people are not there for the good of a Coalition Government. And perhaps Mary Wooldridge would do well to read the background CV of the head of her Gippsland Health Services and discover that she (the head of Gippsland Health) is none other than the former ALP memeber for Morwell!

    Ted had better get the clean-out underway soon. My advice to Ted is get them before they get you!


  58. Victorian MP or Mrs Travolta?

    Which Victorian female MP was seen wearing the skimpy black satin shorts in Brighton?

    Sources say it was not Asher. Pennicuir is ruled out. Was it new Liberal chum, Georgie Crozier?

  59. I AM TOO LAZY ...




  60. I AM TOO LAZY ...



  61. FRANK CAKE ..


  62. FRANK CAKE ..


    Sandra Mercer Moore OR Tony Snell ?



    AND WHAT ROLE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO CHINESE LIBERALS CHAIRPERSON gladys liu …. It was Chinese fundraising that got Libs home in SE Suburbs by fooling Gladys Liu to STAND for No 3 in SE metro …

  64. CAKES from MALVERN

    The SALES of my CAKES has improved tooooo much after 27th Nov 2010 …

  65. CAKES from MALVERN

    Is JANE HUME getting something ?

  66. Adrian Jackson

    Frank Greenstein (a South African refo to Australia after the regime they were happy to live under was replaced by Mandela) was not even an Aussie when he was causing trouble in Melbourne Ports FEC in the early 2000’s.

    He was concerned that my views on apartheid Israel could affect this recruitment of new Liberal members to the “South African” branches in Caulfield. Melbourne Ports had about 500 members in 18 branches in 2003 but they still could not win against Michael Danby. They were pathetic except for a few dozen who actually did some work (including me between 1994-2003).

  67. Real

    Adrian Jackson, you are a nasty little person. A hater, a denier, a man of outdated race hate views and someone whose application for the KKK would be accepted without an interview or call to your referees (Himmler, Idi Amin).

    I hope you contract that disease that makes one’s bowels fall out. True, it does. And when they fall out, you can place the contents on your shoulders and feel good about your appearance.

  68. Wacko Jacko

    I also don’t like Frank because he is a Joo.

  69. Real

    And Wacko, I don’t like you and your scabby flea infested family of ho’s and crack merchants. Your parents were obviously trailer park trash who failed to beat you properly, your siblings are still circus sideshow exhibits and I hope you all are flayed alive in canola oil ….

  70. Adrian Jackson

    Real (20 & 21 Jan 11) attack the messenger when you can not argue a sane case. Are you Frank from Caulfield, Graham from Toorak, Mike from Albert Park or Cath from Caulfield. Come on you greasy jelly fish tell us your “real” name.

    Does Frank Greenstein still slaughter fatten calves at Liberal HQ according to some backward middle eastern ritual to celebrate another defeat in Melbourne Ports?

  71. Real

    Oh get with the program Adrian. Your world view was laid to rest when Ghegis Khan first went bald.

  72. Adrian Jackson

    Real (21 Jan 11) Is it program or programme?

  73. Steve Sensible

    Adrian’s distance from the events of 2002-2003 only multiply his paranoia.

    Many were willing to stomach Adrian’s “eccentricities” for a long time, but when he announced (or was asked by a journo, to whom Adrian decided to be honest rather than discrete) that he was banning Americans and Israelis from his B&B.

    This sort of discriminatory behaviour is illegal in Victoria, and that is when he lost any tolerance of his behaviour among the people who had voted for him for Policy Assembly in 2002 primarily because he was not named Jason Aldworth.

    Since then he has held a grudge against an assortment of people, some of whom were behind his demise from the get-go, and some who only worked to have him expelled when he was quoted in the Jewish News advocating illegal behaviour as “St Kilda Liberal Branch President”.

    Having said that Adrian is not missed, except that some meetings don’t tend to be as entertaining as they once were.

  74. Adrian Jackson

    Real (20 & 21 Jan 11) correction to my earlier comment (21 Jan 11, 10.05) I meant Warren from Toorak not Graham from Toorak.

  75. Real

    You’re still a white hooded Brown shirt, Adrian Jackson. Now go find a cattle car to sleep in …

  76. Adrian Jackson

    Real (21 Jan 11, 14.59) Work makes your free. I wore a brown shirt for 23 years to 1995 in the ADF but I still have some left just in case I need them

  77. Real

    And Adrian, your wore a nappy in the ADF too, while you served in the back room of some safe haven where the only ‘fire’ you expeienced was when you lit the Company BBQ.

  78. Adrian Jackson

    Real (21 Jan 11, 17.49) better to train for peace that fight an unwinnable war. PS: I hate BBQ’s as its such a bogan or South African activity

  79. The Next Member for Kew

    Don’t forget about Scott Sampsen, he’s apparantly the next Member for Kew!! He’s working those numbers from Josh’s office. AMc better watch out, the 32-year old professional EO idiot is gunning for him.

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