High-flying Stoner comes down to earth to take charge

High-flying Stoner comes down to earth to take charge

Liberal poster boy … Mike Baird.If the Treasurer, Mike Baird, is looking for a new revenue stream he should cast an eye over the frequent flyer points of the Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner – they’re accumulating like popcorn at Hoyts. Stoner, who was dubbed ”minister for Manhattan” after two trade missions to the US, was not long back from Japan and Hong Kong before he spent last week bouncing between South Korea and two provinces of China with his chief of staff, Rod Bruce. In Shenzhen, the pair met with executives at Huawei, the Chinese telco controversially locked out of the NBN by the Gillard Labor government. But if there’s one thing Stoner loves more than trade missions, it’s standing in as acting premier, which he gets to do this week with Barry O’Farrell off for school holidays. Stoner’s office will be working overtime covering for a holidaying Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, Police Minister, Mike Gallacher, Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher as well as the ministers George Souris and Victor Dominello.

If only political fund-raising was as easy. Barry O’Farrell’s chief of staff, Pete McConnell, has assembled a team of staffers to do the Oxfam Trailwalker charity walk in April – and the money has been pouring in. McConnell’s team has raised $25, 245 – about $17,000 more than the next best fund-raisers, the walking matildas and $23,000 or so more than the bush chooks. Perhaps the bush chooks don’t have the connections to attract $500 donations from the likes of Macquarie Capital, Leighton, Freehills and KPMG like McConnell’s team ”BeCoS” – geddit? MPs and staffers have also chucked in. Now McConnell and his fellow chiefs of staff, Jaymes Boland-Rudder (Duncan Gay), Colman O’Driscoll (Kevin Humphries) and Peter Shmigel (Victor Dominello) just have to walk 100 kilometres in 48 hours. Good luck, guys.

We know NSW Labor is looking to transform itself into anything but, well, the NSW Labor Party but this is going too far. Just weeks ago Liberal poster boy Mike Baird presented his second budget in front of the slogan ”Building for the Future”. The ALP is preparing for its annual talkfest at the Town Hall and guess what it has chosen as its slogan for the event. Yep, they’re building in a forwards direction, too, pictured below left. One of Labor’s faceless men must have also lost his ears because he didn’t call Naked Eye back to explain the flattering imitation of the Tories.

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