Quiet night in Canberra on a budget


After five days of deliberation, a Canberra jury has still been unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Bruce Lehrmanthe former liberal employee accused of having raped his ex-colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament.

Lehrmann, who pleads not guilty, left the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday, flanked by his lawyers, Steven Whybrow and Katrina Musgroveas well as another face – former Liberal ministerial adviser turned independent political consultant John MacGowan.

Recognized as a master of the political dark arts and an irreverent poster boy on Twitter, MacGowan was brought in by Lehrmann himself a few weeks ago to help on the public relations front during the trial.

Higgins, meanwhile, was accompanied on most court dates by her partner David Sharaz and ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates. Also on his team is a lawyer Leon Zwiera media-savvy partner of Arnold Bloch Leibler who has worked for high-profile clients, including as an advisor to Shortened invoice during the 2014 trade union royal commission and Steve Smith after the ball tampering scandal.


Leader of the Victorian Liberals Matthew Guy and his campaign bus, emblazoned with the infamous “Get Back in Control” slogan, is one of the enduring images of the party’s ill-fated campaign effort in 2018.

So we were surprised to learn on Wednesday that Guy’s bus will remain parked ahead of the Nov. 26 state election, with the Liberals taking the unusual step of scrapping the concept altogether this time around.

For the uninitiated, loading the campaign bus with reporters, camera crews and staff to drive to a distant announcement is a daily campaign ritual hallowed by major party leaders.

Matthew Guy in his 2018 campaign bus.Credit:Jason South

Liberal campaign HQ confirmed there would be no buses in their campaign, would not provide details on why the decision was made, but denied it was because of a lack of money.

Dan Andrew’s The Labor government has confirmed that the Prime Minister will be on the road in his bus once the campaign has started.

CBD won’t hitchhike.


An unexpected name appeared in the saga of Tim Painthe former Australian men’s cricket Test captain whose career was shattered by a sexting scandal, who is trying to tell his side of the story via a new book.


The former captain has always maintained that the exchange of sexts with a Cricket Tasmania employee that led to his death was consensual and has been cleared of any wrongdoing by two inquests. But in a new twist, Paine says he was asked to quit by an outside consultant hired by Cricket Australia, who told him to quit in order to get ahead of the story.

The consultant in question was Clive Mathiesonformer prime minister Malcolm Turnbull former chief of staff and former editor-in-chief of The Australian. As reported last year, his communications firm Cato and Clive, run by the esteemed Liberal spinner Sue Catonhas worked for Cricket Australia for some time.


Evidence is mounting that some in the ranks of the hacker army besieging Australia’s fortress have a sense of humor.

Exhibit A: The audacious phishing attack on members of the Australian Institute of Company Directors on Monday as they attempted to join an online cybersecurity conference hosted by LinkedIn.

Exhibit B: A brazen effort by online scammers to flog dodgy tickets for the Australian Crypto Conference on the Gold Coast last month, the organizers, who did not respond to a request for comment, were forced to take to social media to warn future attendees of the sold-out event are not falling for the scam.

Wasn’t the new era of crypto/blockchain/NFT technology supposed to deliver us from the scourge of ticket scalping and other scams? It seems like some things are with us forever.


CBD’s favorite local council, Stonnington, where ‘behavioral issues’ have intrigued us for years, has managed to resolve its latest episode of major drama.


A group of alders had boycotted special council meetings called to cut funding to some local merchant associations after audits raised liability issues with the scheme which was costing taxpayers $1.8 million a year.

But with the advisers Marcia Griffin, Alex Lew, Kate Hely and Nicki Batagol refusing to tip, mayor Jami Klisaris was denied the quorum it needed to make its way and vote on the bankruptcy financing plan.

But after the local government minister by Melissa Horne daydreams in Sunday age over “behavioural issues” in Stonnington and that councilors refusing to attend meetings could be considered not fulfilling their duties, a quorum of councilors was formed on Monday and funding was cut off.

As a result, the future of clusters of traders in Chapel Street, Toorak Village and Toorak Road in South Yarra, Glenferrie Road in Malvern and High Street in Malvern is now uncertain.

Hely told CBD his objections to the motion were based in part on concerns that the council itself risked failing to meet its obligations under the Local Government Act in its approach to the issue.

But his appeals to his fellow advisers to spare trade groups have been in vain.

See you for the next episode.

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