Lunch for Comment Affair
I went down to the Brushtail Café for lunch, John Howard was
sitting at a table in the corner with his security man. He was drinking
whisky and quietly humming 'He's not heavy, he's my brother'
off key to himself.
didn't come into the place often, so I wasn't surprised when he didn't
recognise me. It had been decades since our paths crossed. Back then
he was selling budgerigars at the old Nock and Kirby's store on George
Street and I was a very young PI doing an investigation for the animal
Possum was propped up at the bar talking to Joadja. "What are you
working on?" he asked, pulling up a stool with his tail.
Fat City for gumshoes at the moment. Work is coming in faster than CIA
missions at CARE Australia. I'm looking for The Third Man, or maybe
The Third Person."
this something to do with the wonderful old Carol Reed movie that's
still running at the Chauvel, with Joseph Cotton playing Holly Martin
and Orson Welles as that evil bastard Harry Lime?" Old Possum asked.
no, I'm working on this fascinating little earner about the Lunch for
if you read old Alan Ramsay in Saturday's Herald you'd know it's now
been revealed in Federal Parliament that Mike Carlton's 1997 assignation
at Eduardo's restaurant in Noosa with John Sharp -- he was then the
Transport and Aviation Minister -- was paid for by the taxpayers. Anyway,
there was a mysterious third person at the lunch. A complicating factor
is that, depending on who you believe, it was a dinner, or maybe --
we're talking about Mike Carlton here -- it was a very long lunch that
turned into a dinner. Anyway, there was a third person present who's
succeeded in having their name suppressed. I'm trying to find out who
fun! Any ideas so far?" Jo asked.
I dunno. Let's round up the usual suspects: a mistress; a girlfriend;
a gay lover; the head of the Federal Airports Corporation; Stan Howard;
Bruce George Baird; Max Moore-Wilton, John Sharp's mum. Anyway, at the
lunch, Mike agreed to support Badgerys Creek and he reckons he told
Sharp that the ABC wasn't full of limp-wristed lefties."
crap! It's packed with them. Phillip Adams only sticks out from the
bunch because he wears a wrist brace, and the mob down at the House
of Js are only lefties in an ironic Post-Modernist sense. How good a
lunch was it?"
was a $276 lunch, but $40 was a tip, so we're looking at $236 or about
$80 each. Apparently that didn't include the wine, because Mike said
he paid for it ... in fact he said it was all at their own expense,
meaning presumably that it was all on their own expense accounts, which
is what these people usually mean."
you can't be saying Mike agreed to support the Badgerys Creek airport
on the basis of a long expense account lunch? Is this what he was hinting
at when he said Laws and Jones had been too greedy?"
you know what they said about Jones: his opinion couldn't be brought,
but by God it could be sold. Perhaps Mike's opinion can't be bought,
but it can be tempted ..." I ventured.
By a dozen fresh oysters and a really well-made basil pesto."