NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was a notable absence at the weekend’s The Everest horse race at Randwick, given the heavy contingent of federal and state pollies who made it to the track. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was hard to miss inside Racing NSW’s official function, which also drew Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres.
Michelle Rowland represented the Labor contingent in Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s absence - who presumably had a scheduling clash with South Sydney’s NRL preliminary final on Saturday afternoon. They lost.
NSW Racing Minister Kevin Anderson was spotted inside the Directors’ Room function, which was hosted by Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys and also drew Today host Karl Stefanovic, 2GB Breakfast host Ben Fordham, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks and Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany (who are fighting it out over the rugby media rights).
The racing boss seemed to be in shock the COVID-era event came off.
“It was quite surreal really, just seeing all these state government guests, and they’re having to abide by all these protocols they came up with - and that involves remaining seated ... it’s pretty hard for a politician,” V'landys said.
Federal frontbencher turned publican Craig Laundy was spotted trackside while retailer Gerry Harvey flitted between the Vinery Stud box and another owned by adman John Singleton. Harvey’s shot at winning The Everest $15 million race with favourite Libertini was nixed when the horse drew the dud outside barrier. There was another dampener for the retailer: “Singo wasn’t there,” he said. Shame.
Could Ten’s Family Feud host Grant Denyer be en route back to Seven after spending the better part of a decade apart from the network?
Discussions are under way between Denyer and Seven about opportunities to host the Supercars from next year but nothing is final.
Seven’s acquisition of the broadcast rights to the Supercars franchise has piqued Denyer’s interest, according to sources. Denyer was the host of Ten’s coverage of the Bathurst1000 over the weekend and sources close to the personality and Seven, say he’s keen to keep that spot when the event changes networks next year. Seven boss James Warburton, who used to run the Supercars, will have watched Denyer’s coverage closely and not just because he loves motorsports.
Of course, Denyer is no stranger to the coverage. He has appeared on Supercars telecasts on both Ten and even over the years. A move would make more sense now that Dancing with the Stars, which he hosted, has also been axed by Ten.
But the negotiations have also sparked rumours that Denyer could replace Andrew O’Keefe as host of The Chase. O’Keefe is in contract negotiations with Seven and the future of their relationship remains undecided. Seven has wrapped up filming the show this year and is deciding whether or not to extend O’Keefe’s contract (it has a one year option). O’Keefe, who has previously taken extended leave for his mental health, is currently on a long break.
Even if he makes the switch to Seven, insiders say it's unlikely Denyer will end up on the game show. He’s adamant to move away from that type of format altogether.
Australia Post’s most recent annual report comprehensively debunks the theory that there’s no cash to be made in a government job. Surprisingly, the more compelling case is it pays even better to be punted from a government job.
Former Andrews' government minister Philip Dalidakis took home a termination payment of $189,026, on top of his base salary of $469,205 for eight months’ work. His pay was relatively modest in comparison to other AusPost execs who were shown the door in 2019. Well-regarded international business boss Annette Carey was made redundant in April. She took home a termination payment of $295,895.
But both payouts are small beer compared to former parcels boss Bob Black, who left the business in February to go on six-months’ leave in the UK and never came back. It was spun by Australia Post PR as a temporary move but staff knew from the moment Black left the office (and sold up the family home in Melbourne) there was buckley’s chance he would return.
Black’s final pay check totalled $1.58 million, made up of a termination payment of $644,399 and a base salary of $804,981.
It’s sadly familiar largesse at an organisation where delivery times are getting slower, postage prices are increasing and staff bonuses alone totalled $83.7 million.
Tennis Australia is adamant Jayne Hrdlicka’s new gig as Virgin Australia’s Brisbane-based chief executive won’t affect her other job chairing the Australian Open. Of course not.
It’s worth noting Hrdlicka’s relocation north leaves TA’s board with more directors living in Sydney than Melbourne where the event takes place. Former Virgin Australia director Graham Bradley, Macquarie director Diane Grady and Flexigroup executive Elizabeth Minogue are all Sydneysiders.
Melbourne-based directors make up just two out of nine at Tennis: lawyer Mark Da Silva and Victoria Ports deputy chair Janice Van Reyk.
And there will be a tournament in January, no two ways about it, according to a Tennis spokeswoman. “We look forward to welcoming the world’s top players in January,” they said.
“We expect to have crowds onsite, although reduced in number from the record 800,000 plus from this year … we are working closely with medical experts and government authorities on the logistics involved.”
Hrdlicka - a renowned tennis tragic and sometime hitting partner with Melbourne’s other resident obsessive - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg - is scheduled to retain her post at the sporting body until 2022. “The TA chair is not required to reside in Melbourne, and in fact our previous president was based in Sydney,” a TA spinner said.
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An earlier version of this article said that Foreign Minister Marise Payne attended The Everest horserace at Randwick on Saturday. This is incorrect. She was in quarantine.
Samantha is a CBD columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.