The Logies on Sunday night was the usual glamorous affair the nation has come to love. Bringing it to new levels of excellence was the presence of a number of the Premier Ted Baillieuâ€™s private office staff, including our favourites Michael Kapel, currently Chief of Staff to the Premier and press secretary Paul Price and their respective wives Marisa and Lisa Panther-Price. Sadly, we are obliged to report none of their party disgraced themselves in the Crown precinct or at any of the occasionally drug-fuelled, violent after-parties.
Sources familiar with the matter tell VEXNEWS that the Victorian Government heavied the Logies organisers for extra tickets to allow for the presence of staff. Previously, ministers, the Premier, heads of Victorian Major Events Corporation and such have usually gone flying the flag for the generous Victorian taxpayer. The presence of ministerial staff is considered highly unusual, even inappropriate, by Treasury Place know-alls, particularlyÂ in the lead-up to the budget.
While the government is crying poor, as is part of our amusing democratic tradition after the Treasury benches change hands (or is that bums?), it didnâ€™t stop them stumping up at least $1 million taxpayer hand-out for the â€œnight of nightsâ€. Corporate welfare is alive and well in Victoria.
The largesse, while highly questionable in our view, was calculated to prevent the rapacious Sydney from taking Melbourneâ€™s traditional event, something they frequently attempt and succeeded in the case of the Australian Film Industry awards.
Liberal sources, who pointed out the presence of the Kapels and the Panther-Prices, say it seemed a remarkably frivolous use of the key political staffâ€™s time two nights before the state budget. The Premierâ€™s office has reputedly had a strong, some say meddling, role in the budget, undermining the authority of state Treasurer Kim Wells and his chief of staff Michael Brennan.