Kooyong is an electorate of 59 square kilometres in inner Melbourne and is east of a bend in the Yarra River. It extends from the suburb of Glen Iris in the south, across to the east bank of the Yarra at Hawthorn, north to Kew, Balwyn North and Mont Albert North, then South to Mont Albert, Surrey Hills and Camberwell1. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg won the seat at the 2019 federal election against Julian Burnside (Greens) with a margin of 55.7% to 44.3% (two party preferred)2.
Josh Frydenberg is desperate to keep his job as a parliamentarian because, I suspect, he is even worse at anything else than he is at being a parliamentarian. I suspect this desperation in part stems from the ominous 8.2% swing against him at the 2019 election2, the wave of climate independents running in numerous electorates, including Monique Ryan in Kooyong, the polling which indicates he is likely to lose his seat in parliament, with Ryan recently leading him by about 59% to 41% (two party preferred)3, and the rancid stench of corruption, petulance4, pork barrelling5, racism6, shirking of responsibility, shifting of blame7, the hatred of expertise8, the religious nutjobbery9, and the lies and misogyny emanating from this government10. Worst of all is the denial of climate change by this government for nearly a decade. Frydenberg is clearly panicking as he has made some bizarre moves which only seem to have exacerbated his position well behind the 8-ball.
The Chief Executive Officer of Guide Dogs Victoria, Karen Hayes, has publicly endorsed Frydenberg’s bid for re-election, in a video on his Facebook page and in flyers for letterbox drops. In the flyer, Hayes is pictured holding a guide dog puppy alongside the words “Why I am supporting Josh Frydenberg”. The letter is signed “Karen, Chief Executive Officer, Guide Dogs Victoria”. It is not the first time Hayes has appeared in campaign material for Frydenberg while at Guide Dogs Victoria. Prior to the 2019 election, she appeared in an ad authorised by the Liberal Party, where she said Frydenberg “genuinely cares for people”. The Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) website says charitable organisations will be disqualified for “promoting or opposing a political party or candidate for political office”11. Guide Dogs Victoria has commenced ‘an investigation’ into Hayes’ endorsement of Frydenberg. One can imagine the outcry from the Liberal Party if Hayes had endorsed Ryan. Two people I know of have stopped their regular donations to Guide Dogs Victoria because of Hayes’ endorsement of Frydenberg.
Catherine Sayers, is the founder of Inclusion Foundation, a charity advocating for people living with Down syndrome. Inclusion Foundation said in a statement that it was “acutely aware of our obligations as a registered charity and we do not endorse, promote, or oppose any political parties or candidates” and that “the views shared by our board member and founder are her personal views”11. This would be believable if the statement “Founder, Inclusion Foundation” was not on the Frydenberg flyer. Rules against charitable organisations endorsing politicians clearly do not apply if the charity endorses the Liberal Party.
As if the foregoing was not enough, Frydenberg’s campaign team has now been caught using a photograph of a group from Scouts Victoria on election corflutes and has agreed to cover them over after receiving a complaint from one of the people in the photo, that they had not given consent12.
As Senator Rex Patrick tweeted: “Why did you have to use Scouts in your electioneering material Josh Frydenberg? You could have used CEO’s from the large companies who received $13B in JobKeeper that wasn’t needed because they had no drop in turnover”13.
Maybe Frydenberg is now regretting some of the comments he made about Victoria during their lockdowns in 2020 and 202114, or maybe he is regretting his government’s lackadaisical attitude to obtaining vaccines15, or the refusal to make rapid antigen tests free to Australians16, or maybe it is the low wage growth which is a design feature of the Liberal economic model17, or the other numerous acts of bastardry or ineptitude this government has imposed on the populace. Whichever of these it is, it would be most enjoyable to see Frydenberg’s political life disappear in a flurry of voting papers. By the way, the word ‘spiv’* seems to characterise so many members of the Liberal Party, Frydenberg included. While they do not deal in dodgy watches, ties, or electrical goods, their corrupt ethos is the same, and they deal mostly in pork, barrels of it.
*spiv: slang for a type of petty criminal who deals in illicit, typically black market goods.
I would be surprised if Herr Frydenberg is re-elected. He turned on Victorians when they asked for more money to help them cope with the pandemic, and now I think he is paying the price. He refused to attend a forum to debate Dr. Ryan is his own electorate but was quite happy to attend one hosted by Channel 9 in Docklands.
He is desperate all right. You can’t walk around his electorate without being assaulted by big blue posters with him on it.