Pollies off in Gaga land

WITH all the sound and fury in Parliament, it seems fitting that on recent trips outside the capital both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have found themselves trailed by hysterical, delirious mobs. No, not rebellious backbenchers or ornery voters – we’re talking of Lady Gaga fans, who twice in recent weeks have found their idol booked into the same luxury hotel as the nation’s leaders. In Melbourne this weekend, it was Abbott who had to run the gauntlet of the Little Monsters at the Park Hyatt. Two weeks ago in Brisbane, it was the PM who shared digs with the pop icon – with her security team getting fans offside by clearing them away from the entrance. Gaga was more accommodating: on Friday afternoon she told shivering fans in Collins Street via Twitter that she was sending them pizzas. ”Eat up, warm up I love u! Keep singing its divine,” she advised. We hear that after her gig that night, her ladyship was spotted playing the blackjack tables at Crown.
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POLITICAL nerds, meanwhile, could occupy themselves playing Spot the Liberal this weekend, with all the heavy hitters in town for the party’s federal council meeting. On Friday night, the party that often protests it doesn’t have factions nonetheless split into two distinct tribes according to our woman in Canberra and in the know, Misha Schubert. Those leaning left opting for Greek fare at Kri Kri on Little Bourke Street, and those leaning right opting for pub fare at The Imperial Hotel. Guests at the moderates gathering, known as The Black Hand dinner, included Malcolm Turnbull, who ribbed shadow attorney-general George Brandis about his ambitions to sit on the High Court. ”Every Liberal leader since John Howard has promised George Brandis as chief justice,” Turnbull gibed. ”Some with more conviction than others.” Quips were also flying over at the ”It Will Be All Right On The Night” dinner, including this effort from MC and senator Stephen Parry, who asked if a Herbert Sebastian Urquhart was in the room. ”I have to thank him. He’s left a credit card at the front desk for our use this evening. But he only left his initials – HSU.”

THE team at Seven’s Sunrise are always telling us they’re a family, and it seems they do indeed go to great lengths to help each other out. Host David Koch is poised to share some financial love with the show’s former executive producer, Adam Boland, with an investment in the TV wonderboy’s venture – an Asian-style steam bath in Kings Cross. Boland announced the Ginseng Baths project nearly 18 months ago, but Heckler has learnt he and his partner, architect Julian Wong, found themselves $1.7 million short ahead of a July 31 deadline. Boland approached a group of high-profile people, believed to be mainly Seven stars, to come on board. ”Kochie is certainly interested, but he hasn’t signed the financial papers yet,” Boland says. While Kochie hasn’t kicked in the cash, he says: ”It’s all about the brand, the people and the business plan and what Adam’s put together ticks all those boxes.”

THE Victorian of the Year was announced yesterday – the honour going to Children First Foundation founder Moira Kelly, recognising her tireless work bringing underprivileged kids to Australia for life-changing surgery. Organisers had planned a big Saturday media event for the announcement, but their plans were upended by News Ltd hacks who demanded they get the name in advance. If not, the paper would find out and publish ahead of time regardless. In the end, Kelly’s gong was in yesterday’s Herald Sun, ahead of the embargo. Way to spoil a surprise, guys.

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