CBD: Celebrating the long life of a brief that Gabrielle Upton left

When NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton isn’t busy pissing off fishermen or rendering dozens of beachfront homes worthless in a decision “not supported by logical or rational grounds” or dodging questions about the bungled container deposit scheme, she seems to spend her time doing very little at all.

This may not be a bad thing. Staffer legend has it, when attorney-general, Upton left a policy brief in for so long that her office threw the document a birthday party.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has come under fire.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

CBD is told there was even a fake media release drafted to celebrate its arrival, one year on, and happy birthday was sung. No news whether a cake was baked.

And we’ve heard that it was only last week, as Budget estimates approached, that it became clear a significant number of compulsory acquisitions that needed Upton’s approval, as Local Government Minister, remained unsigned.

So unread (or so we have it on good authority), in a hurry, those signatures came quick.

Hopefully they won’t render a swathe of suburbia worthless.

But we should note that Upton's office denied either event took place.

New York, New York

It’s a good thing New York City is a big place because the odds of bumping into a former prime minister there are higher than almost any other place on earth.

Last week the Big Apple played host not just to Malcolm Turnbull, but Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard (Rudd has since decamped to China where he is hopefully not being ratf---ed).

That's three out of our seven living ex-PMs in the one place.

The Exiles, as we will call them, presumably did not catch up given they all hate each other.

It was Turnbull, after all, who ensured Rudd never had a shot being UN Secretary General.

And we all know how Rudd and Gillard went as colleagues.

US ambassador Joe Hockey, however, gets on with at least two of them and is believed to have dined with Turnbull.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey is now the US ambassador.

Photo: Andrew Meares

Hockey was also out on the town with his former Sunrise mate. We await the happy snaps with Gillard.

Queuing up the hill

Back in Australia, Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn, busy slashing 8000 jobs from the telco, was spotted exiting a pre-Midwinter Ball (in spring) meeting in Bill Shorten’s office.

Westpac boss Brian Hartzer arrived early to do the rounds of the Ministerial Wing. Bank bosses (who don’t work at NAB) are extra popular these days in political circles, what with the out-of-cycle interest rate rises and the royal commission.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn is slashing 8000 jobs from the beleaguered telco.

Photo: Joe Armao

Speaking of popular industries, Australian Energy Council chief Sarah McNamara was also in Parliament, presumably working out which side of politics will re-regulate her members with more brutality. Indeed, it was quite a crowd this week, with Spanish adventurer and lobbyist David Gazard also through the Prime Minister’s Office, although we can finally confirm he is not taking that long-rumoured job as Scott Morrison’s chief of staff.

The other party last night

Outside of Canberra, the serious buyers of art descended on Carriageworks for an early preview of the Sydney Contemporary fair.

Among the crowd was billionaire Gretel Packer and Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand, as well as Gresham executive director Tony Berg.

Penelope Seidler was along for the show, as was Brand's predecessor at AGNSW Edmond Capon and seriously big fish John Kaldor.

Geoff Ainsworth, of the billionaire poker machine family, was also spotted, while others reported the Ben Quilty works were almost sold out early in the afternoon and there appeared to be heavy early sales out of the international Pace Gallery, in Australia for the first time.

Smiling for a good cause

Talk about making a sacrifice for a good cause.

The Daily Telegraph’s NRL supremo, Phil "Buzz" Rothfield, sure looked pleased at the lunchtime fundraiser for the Cronulla Lions Club at Doltone House back in May.

Phil ''Buzz'' Rothfield said he was smiling for a good cause with the hostess from Sex Bomb Dancers.

Photo: Facebook

There he was, sat around the all-inclusive oyster, prawn and lobster function with a bombshell from Sex Bomb Dancers on his lap.

We’ll leave that to your imagination.

And who are we to begrudge a man his small pleasures?

But the timing could have been better.

Buzz had spent last week teeing off about “a couple of knucklehead footballers” (and they were) especially during the age of mobile phone cameras and social media.

With the photo of the Sex Bomb hostess circulating the internet, the Herald’s Kate McClymont innocently questioned Buzz.

“I don’t go to grubby events,” Rothfield told McClymont. “Put it this way, I was smiling for a good cause."

Too right.

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