You might think former health minister Greg Hunt, who retired from politics at the last election, might be sick of talking about COVID. Not so. Hunt is set to address – via zoom – a Boston-based conference for medical journalists called “the health coverage fellowship,” as the minister “who led Australia’s pandemic response”.
The fellowship, backed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of Massachusetts – a not for profit health insurance company – will put Hunt on a panel to provide lessons from the future from countries who “handled the pandemic right and those that demonstrably didn’t,” alongside two American epidemiologists.
In other words, Hunt is representing Australia’s COVID-19 success to the world, even if criticisms over his speed in procuring vaccines, and the Morrison government ceding most pandemic heavy-lifting to the states and their chief health officers hasn’t been forgotten over here.
In any case, at least one relic of that government seems to have stood the test of time.
Premier Dominic Perrottet’s government, rocked by weeks of John Barilaro-related scandal, reeling from the loss of two ministers in four days and lurching toward an election next March which it could seriously lose to NSW Labor, probably needs all the spinning it can get.
Unfortunately, Perrottet has recently lost his head of media Kathy Lipari, who leaves the Premier’s office despite only joining in March (when she came over from The Daily Telegraph like most of his media team).
Talk about bad timing.
It was awkward timing for one of the Property Council’s biggest events of the year.
The lobby group hosted its bi-annual luncheon At Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt on Thursday – two days after Victorian executive director Danni Hunter resigned over racially-insensitive comments.
To a room filled with 350 mostly white people, Property Council national chief executive Ken Morrison said it had been a difficult few weeks and praised the Victorian team for their “resilience” and “commitment”.
He wished Hunter “nothing but the best” after the “powerful advocate” had “sadly departed” and announced Adina Cirson, a former communications director for Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, will replace her in the interim.
While the council no doubt wanted the conversation to focus on getting city workers back into the office, gossip was lively in the Savoy Ballroom.
Notables in attendance included deputy Melbourne lord mayor Nicholas Reece, the Future Fund’s newly appointed chief investment officer Doug Cain and Charter Hall office boss Carmel Hourigan.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was spotted on a typically-delayed flight from Canberra to Brisbane mid-morning Thursday. Except the Senate didn’t adjourn until 6pm last night, meaning Hanson, who was also spotted away from the chamber during question time last week, was jigging again.
Fitz the Jackpot
CBD has kept a keen eye on the movements at energy giant AGL, where a flurry of directors left the building after its planned de-merger was abandoned after much pressure from billionaire Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.
The latest departure is John Fitzgerald, who finished a 14 year stint as general counsel, seven of which he was also company secretary, in July.
Last week, Fitzgerald joined Tabcorp as chief legal and risk officer, following the betting outfit’s demerger of its lotteries and keno businesses.
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