Joe Hockey biography heats Canberra’s winter hibernation

Friends and family: Joe Hockey poses with his wife Melissa Babbage (left), Peter FitzSimons, Lisa Wilkinson (right) and writer Madonna King. Photo: James Alcock/Getty Images Sign of approval: Joe Hockey and writer Madonna King autograph the tome. Photo: James Alcock/Getty Images
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Colleagues rue ‘unhelpful’ content of Hockey’s book

Free of Clive Palmer’s grasp, Prime Minister Tony Abbott turned in a brilliant performance as a world statesman only to have his Treasurer rain on his parade.

A book about the life and times of Joe Hockey has Peta Credlin, Mr Abbott’s chief-of-staff, speaking far above her station in life and anointing Mr Hockey as the leading leadership contender.

Then there is Mr Hockey’s wife Melissa Babbage revealing her husband could not trust another Liberal leadership hopeful, Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Hockey is even quoted uttering the death of a salesman-like opinion that his budget is much softer than he would have liked.

The authorised biography, Hockey: Not Your Average Joe, by Fairfax Media columnist Madonna King – a former News Limited journalist and ABC broadcaster – has rudely shattered Canberra’s mid-winter calm.

The nation’s capital habitually goes into hibernation, with MPs in their electorates or heading overseas to the warmth of the northern hemisphere on parliamentary fact-finding missions.

Now Coalition colleagues are muttering about Mr Hockey’s sense of self-importance and timing.

Mr Hockey told friends who gathered at the North Sydney Oval book launch on Thursday that the release date was not of his choosing. He said he had agreed to take part more than a year ago, when in Opposition.

‘‘I took advice from Tony Abbott and a number of other people and decided to co-operate,’’ he said.

As to his wife’s opinion on Mr Turnbull’s trustworthiness?

‘‘They were her words and they were uttered a while back. I work closely with Malcolm … I speak to him regularly … I trust Malcolm Turnbull, yes.’’

And that business about the budget being softer than he would have liked?

‘‘My job is to prosecute the case. Commentators want to have it both ways; on the one hand they said ‘Joe didn’t have the ticker to do what needs to be done’ and when Joe is part of a team that lays down what needs to be done, they say otherwise,” Mr Hockey said.

Mr Hockey thought the book’s critics were disappointed by its revelation that he and Mr Abbott were very close, a ‘‘welcome change in a relationship between a treasurer and a prime minister’’.

But as to Hockey, PM? ‘‘We’ll leave that to destiny.’’

None of Mr Hockey’s federal colleagues attended the book launch.

A cabinet meeting in Canberra and a remembrance service took precedence. He said some were overseas.

However, the Hockey club at North Sydney included Nick and Kathryn Greiner, John Fahey, Peter Collins, Bruce Baird, Don Harwin, Gladys Berejiklian, George Souris, Peter Coleman, Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne.

Another Fairfax columnist, Peter FitzSimons, who is a close friend of Mr Hockey, launched the book.

Their families often dine together on Sunday nights. FitzSimons’ wife, the Nine Network Today program co-host Lisa Wilkinson, acted as compere.

King received the biggest laugh when noting that her book recorded Mr Hockey’s desire to enter hospital for stomach surgery under the pseudonym Dirk Diggler (the name of  Mark Wahlberg’s porn star character in the 1997 film Boogie Nights).

The doctors knew best, and he was admitted as Joe Little.

‘‘And that’s unlikely to help negotiations with Jacqui Lambie,’’ Ms King said.

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Hockeyroos thrash Malaysia in opener

Crookwell’s Emily Smith and Kellie White relax in Glasgow. Photo: James BuckleyFull coverage: Commonwealth GamesMedal tallyDay-by-day schedule
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Gold-medal favourite Hockeyroos sent a stern warning in their Commonwealth Games opener on Thursday, brushing aside Malaysia 4-0.

Sporting black armbands in the wake of last week’s Malaysia Airlines disaster, Australia proved far too classy for the Asian minnows and the margin could’ve been greater were it not for defiant goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya.

Jodie Kenny opened the scoring after seven minutes off a penalty corner, the only set piece of the game to yield a Hockeyroos goal.

Crookwell product Kellie White doubled the lead at the 20-minute mark before two brilliant backhand goals either side of half-time by Georgina Parker sealed the win.

Eight penalty corners also went unconverted.

“Our PCs could’ve been a bit more thorough, we said right at the beginning of the game that if we put away our PCs that we could win by a lot,” White said.

“We rely on our drag flickers quite a bit, as we saw in the World Cup, [Anna Flanagan] and Jodes [Jodie Kenny] flicking quite well.

“We’ll be debriefing today on how we can score more goals and also maybe our structure going forward into the circle could be improved as well, and making sure we be brave on the second post and that we put those chances in.”

White and teammate Emily Smith make up a two-pronged Crookwell contingent in the Australian side, giving the chilly NSW town the best Hockeyroo per capita rate in Australia.

Roughly 2000 people live in Crookwell, a population encompassing several generations of both the Smith and White families.

White’s dad was one of eight children, while her mum was one of five, and Smith’s family tree stretches even further.

“We probably have two of the biggest extended families in Crookwell, my mum’s one of 11,” the pint-sized Smith said.

“It’s great to go back and give back to Crookwell when they’ve put so much support into us.”

Since the pair moved to Perth and debuted for the Hockeyroos in 2011, the tight-knit Crookwell community has followed them every step of the way.

Despair set in two years back when a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament cost White a spot at the London Olympics.

Then hockey fever took over Crookwell last month during the World Cup in the Netherlands, where Australia went down 2-0 to the Dutch in the final.

A similar excitement is sweeping through the town this week.

“The sports store back home that [ex-Canberra Raider] Michael Picker owns, he did a jumper for Em and me for the World Cup,” White said.

“They were selling them back home, the White and Smith edition for the World Cup.

“A lot of the town supported that, so it was good for business back home and good for us to be getting that support.”

White and Smith met each other through minkey hockey almost 20 years ago, and have played alongside each other for more than a decade, growing up together in the NSW representative system.

The pair were even living together when White injured her knee, an experience that only strengthened their bond.

“It could’ve been quite difficult and put some strains on our relationship, but it didn’t. We were both there for each other and supported each other in the challenges that we were having that year,” White said.

“It was a good learning curve for me and something that spurs me on every day at training.”

“London was obviously my main target, but once that ACL was ruptured I said to myself right then and there that I wanted to make the World Cup and the Comm Games; and so far I’ve achieved that.

“I did want a gold medal at the World Cup, though silver’s not so bad, it’s the next one down, so that was pretty good. Now I’m a part of the Comm Games and chasing that gold medal.”

Expect wild celebrations in Glasgow and Crookwell should the Hockeyroos land another Games gold medal.

“If we’ve got a lateish game here, they’ll be up [in Crookwell], no one will miss it,” Smith said.

AUSTRALIA 4 (Jodie Kenny (PC) 7m, Kellie White 20m, Georgina Parker 30m, 49m) bt MALAYSIA 0.

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Bombers to outline Hird’s initial role

James Hird’s focus upon his return to work at Essendon is expected to be on leading the team into season 2015, whether he takes up a seat in the coaches box for the rest of this year or not.
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The Bombers have not yet detailed what Hird’s role will entail when his 12 month suspension ends in round 23, or how much time he will spend at the club.

The club’s football department has been restructured in his absence, with former Adelaide coach Neil Craig coming on board as general manager of football performance and Rob Kerr appointed to run the football department.

The club held a scheduled board meeting on Thursday night, and is expected to clarify Hird’s initial role and involvement at the club well before next week’s game against Sydney.

Chairman Paul Little had no comment to make as he left the club on following the meeting.

“It’s private,” Little told the Nine Network. “I’ve got no comment to make.”

The club is expected to clarify Hird’s initial role and involvement at the club before next week’s game against Sydney.

Hird returned from France earlier this week, after completing a four-month business course.

Essendon and Hird’s action against the Australian Sports Anti Doping agency is scheduled to begin in the Federal Court on August 11.

The club and Hird launched the action after ASADA issued show-cause notices to 34 former and current Bombers, alleging the government body acted outside its authority while conducting its joint investigation of the club’s supplements program with the AFL.

After Essendon’s win over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, Thompson said his focus was on the players, and ensuring their season without Hird did not amount to a “gap year.”

“They don’t want us to be a distraction, so it’s not going to be,” he said.

“We are not talking about it, and I have not even decided what I’m doing next year. All I know is they didn’t want it to be a gap year and it’s not. We are still alive.

“We’re a chance to play finals and we want to make sure that happens. I can seriously tell you it’s not about me.”

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19 Grange Road, Kew

Former state MP and businessman Evan Thornley and Tracey Ellery are selling their expansive Kew home with expectations of around $8 million. The home features a 25-metre lap pool and alfresco dining areas.
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They purchased the home five years ago.

The kitchen is equipped with a Lacanche gourmet stove and a calacatta marble island bench.

The rear living areas overlook northern and western courtyards.

Interiors through the house are by Hecker Phelan Guthrie.

The spacious home has Oak floors.

Italian travertine floors and glass walls highlight the contemporary living areas.

There are six bedrooms in the house.

A tessellated tile verandah leads to a wide entrance hall.

There are six bathrooms in the house including four marble ensuits.

informal living and dining areas are divided by a two-way open floor plan.

There are three bedrooms downstairs and three upstairs.

It has a C-Bus+sound system, hydronic heating, and ducted heating and cooling.

There is a large courtyard and garden area.

Expectations are around $8 million.

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