In general, the second Tuesday in May is the only night of the year where the often ignored national capital can really feel like the center of the nation’s attention. At least for the 30 minutes of the cashier’s budget speech.
And after the COVID-inspired and socially distant non-event that was budget 2020, the political crowd and bandwagoners showed up for what is expected to be the last budget ahead of the next federal election. Justin Hemmes and a pack of rats with Josh Frydenberg‘s projected friends studied cool from the public gallery after flying into the Sydney bar tsar’s private jet.
The incumbent Rat Packer-in-chief, who is expanding his Merivale empire to the treasurer’s home ground in Melbourne, was CEO of Seven Group Ryan Stokes, fresh from his hostile takeover attempt by Boral, and undoubtedly doubts whether the National Gallery of Australia, of which he is chairman, would receive budget crumbs.
Other gang members were James Symond, the outgoing CEO of Aussie Home Loans and Dan Rosen, the former head of the Australian Recording Industry Association, who became president of Warner Music Australasia.
Instead of making a cargo night in Canberra, the quartet ate with the cashier (not everyone?) Prior to a scheduled night flight back to Emerald City. The rest of the company package had their choice of official Liberal Party functions in the Houses of Parliament, including a bit of drinks events inside the MPs’ offices as well as the later main events inside the Great Hall, Queens Terrace and another private function held by Paul Fletcher Bradfield Forum inside the mural.
prime minister Scott Morrison coughed up drinks inside Canberra’s oval office for a power list of contestants that included the artist Ros Packer, a member of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation Board, no doubt about the financial condition of the art. Later at the official bash of the Liberal Party inside the great hall of parliament, Lindsay and Paula Fox, Blackmore’s CEO Alastair Symington, EY Defense Consultant Christopher Pyne and SAAB CEO Andy Keough were all part of the PM’s VVIP contingent.
Celebrity spotting peaked at the function held by Member for La Trobe Jason Wood, if guest list included Gamble Breaux, the singer who rose to fame on reality TV show The real housewives in Melbourne.
In contrast, the bankers were in it in the long run. CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh was discovered inside the Bradfield function in a year in which the big banks sent smaller contingents than usual. NAB Chairman Phil Chronican made a pilgrimage to the capital, flanked by NAB’s corporate and institutional head David Gall and business and private banking CEO Andrew Irvine – even as CEO Ross McEwan sat in this year’s event due to a series of investor meetings scheduled after his half-year results last week. Westpac CEO Carolyn McCann the flag the flag of the CEO Peter Kingtogether with the bank’s government relations Richard Collyer and Richard Shields, a former NSW Liberal Deputy State Director. The bank’s newly established institutional bank manager, Anthony Miller, was expected to fly in on Wednesday to represent the bank as a sponsor of Frydenberg’s address to the National Press Club. Meanwhile, ANZ sent its finance team.
For others, it was early doors that opened and bottomed out. Minister of Finance Jane Hume drew an impressive crowd for drinks in her office, including the chronic, KPMG chair Alison Kitchen and Woodside acting CEO Meg O’Neill.