Is former Macquarie banker Angus Murray going soft?
The hedge fund millionaire departed Australia for New York in the 1990s, rising to the top of MacBank’s expansive American operations.
More recently, Murray moved to London where he splashed out £4 million ($7.4 million) for a Chelsea mansion and became the chief executive at funds outfit Castlestone Management.
Now he’s eyeing his old stomping ground — Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
In Murray’s sights* is a swath of the Sydney Harbour National Park near Watsons Bay, land businessman Christopher Drivas had previously proposed to turn into a function centre.
Drivas quickly learnt that any development opposed by the Watsons Bay Association — which opposes virtually everything — doesn’t get very far. By last December, his plan was dead.
But Murray is keen to have a crack and this year discussed his ideas with several people including Liberal MP Dave Sharma and Vantage Asset Management chairman Rod McGeoch, recently reappointed to the SCG Trust.
It’s unclear exactly what Murray — who has registered a new corporate vehicle called Nature Walks as part of the project — wants to do with the South Head site.
CBD was told much of the discussion concerns a free three-kilometre pathway in the areathat wraps around from Gap Bluff to the Hornby Lighthouse.
People close to Murray say his plans for South Head, if they come good, would finally make the area wheelchair accessible. We’re sure these plans have nothing to do with the eight lucrative buildings in the precinct that the government had hoped to lease for 40 years.
All this would be a departure from Murray’s previous attempts at landscaping. Earlier this year he made the news in London for refusing to pay a gardener for work he didn’t like, instead telling him to “sue me, you prick”. The gardener called his bluff and Murray was forced to pay £24,000 ($45,000).
*Not recommended: several years ago Murray was photographed in front of a dead lion and a dead elephant, although he later had a change of heart and vowed to save rhinos from poachers.
How good are failed Liberal politicians plucked from obscurity and handed a comfortable sinecure inside the Administrative Appeals Tribunal despite their lack of legal experience?
Not very, it turns out. Don’t take our word for it — just ask Federal Court judge Wendy Abraham.
Former Liberal senator Chris Puplick was appointed to the AAT in November 2017 by (then) Liberal senator George Brandis. (But of course he did, and thanks for the $300,000 salary).
For the record, the Herald reported last month that Puplick resigned as NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president and as NSW Privacy commissioner in 2003 after being investigated for improperly acting on behalf a friend in a discrimination case.
Which brings us to the present day and the matter of Paramjeet Singh, an Indian citizen who had his permanent visa cancelled for a domestic assault and found himself before Puplick at the AAT.
Justice Abraham on Friday found Puplick’s decision not to overturn the cancellation was “irrational and illogical”. Puplick doesn’t have any legal qualifications. It seems he also can’t use a calendar.
It turns out Puplick’s mistakenly believed that Singh was given a series of warnings not to reoffend, gave a commitment he wouldn’t, then went on to commit another crime.
Singh didn't commit a crime after the warnings, it turned out. Puplick was just dead wrong.
Singh's matter is heading back to the AAT (and, perhaps, another former Liberal MP).
LUCK OF THE IRISH
Australia's sporting delegation at the Rugby World Cup spent the weekend holed up in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture as Typhoon Hagibis wreaked havoc with travel plans.
Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne was there, flying the flag for an absent chief executive Raelene Castle, as the Wallabies took on Georgia at Fukuroi's Ecopa Stadium on Friday night.
Officials included Australian Olympic Committee chief Matt Carroll, Melbourne Rebels chairman Paul Docherty and Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula.
The victorious Wallabies managed to fly out on Saturday morning but Clyne's Rugby Australia contingent was not so lucky and was forced to wait until after Hagibis made landfall.
Clyne, a former National Australia Bank boss, lead the contingent to a Fukuroi Irish bar on Sunday to wait out the weather with a flight out booked for Monday.