Some go into banking, such as NAB’s Mike Baird who is now a front seat contender to head Westpac, the nation’s oldest bank – perhaps more Titanic than industry titan – following the departure of CEO Brian Hartzer and the money laundering/child exploitation/sex show scandal.
Others, such as Nick Greiner, become members of boards for business behemoths including cigarette company WD & HO Wills, Infrastructure NSW and Transurban. The diplomatic corps is a well-trodden route, as it will be for disgraced former premier Barry O’Farrell, soon to head to India as ambassador. This is after board roles at organisations dear to his heart, such as Diabetes Australia and Obesity Australia, from days when – several kilos heavier – he was known as Fatty O’Barrell.
But former Lib leader Kerry Chikarovski has taken the road least travelled and become a marriage celebrant.
Tomorrow, she will perform her second marriage when her daughter Lisa Chikarovski marries Andrew Johnston, the nephew of Liberal party stalwart and former attorney-general Philip Ruddock.
Chikarovski, a Monte Sant’Angelo old girl, undertook her marriage celebrant training last year in the wake of the marriage equality vote. Private Sydney understands she did so in order to officiate at her gay friends’ weddings. To her disappointment, the Catholic-raised Liberal leader – whose own marriage did not survive the long hours at Macquarie Street – learnt none of them wanted to marry.
It’s quite the reverse for her daughter Lisa, a Liberal policy worker and former media adviser to Joe Hockey, and her husband-to-be, ATO tax lawyer Johnston.
The two will marry at Bimbadgen Estate – a year to the day after the couple met at the popular Hunter Valley vineyard during a Day on the Green, rocking to Daryl Braithwaite and John Farnham. Naturally, the first dance will be to Braithwaite’s The Horses, also a nod to Lisa’s love of competing in equestrian events.
The cake will recreate the concert stage, with the Aussie rockers, the crowd and the bride and groom.
The gathering of around 200 Liberal bluebloods will no doubt be colourful. The reception will have a carnival theme and, in a tribute to marriage equality, the bridal party of nine bridesmaids will wear rainbow colours. Even Kamahl is slated to serenade the couple, both with a young child from previous relationships.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s for Louis Vuitton boss
French luxury boss Bernard Arnault, one of the world’s richest men, was expected in Sydney on Wednesday night for the re-opening of the Louis Vuitton Maison, on the corner of George and King streets. He was eating Tiffany’s for breakfast, sealing the largest-ever luxury deal, when the 70-year-old founder and largest shareholder of LVMH proposed to purchase the American jewellery company for $24.5 billion.
The New York-based Tiffany & Co., whose blue boxes author Truman Capote and Audrey Hepburn helped make famous, said yes. Now the company joins the 75 iconic brands in the LVMH stable, including Christian Dior, Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon, and Arnault’s net worth has risen to $152 billion, just behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with $164 billion and Microsoft’s Bill Gates with $162 billion.
Close to 600 people from Sydney’s rich list – including Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie Todd – gathered sans Arnault at an in-store cocktail party across the new store’s four floors. The Ruinart, from France’s oldest champagne house, flowed as clients streamed into the refurbished former bank, built in the Italian Palazzo style in 1857.
Celebrities including Elsa Pataky, who jetted in from Byron where she lives with actor husband Chris Hemsworth, and Lara Worthington, pregnant with her third son with actor Sam Worthington who flew from Los Angeles, both wore LV: a dress and silk PJs respectively.
When Private Sydney was ushered upstairs into one of the VIP rooms, we were quickly shuffled out so that male model Jordan Barrett could have some “chill time” with friends, while Flume, aka Harley Edward Streten, happily welcomed guests in the next room.
Julie Bishop, wearing a Louis Vuitton dress and exquisite Yves Saint Laurent heels that the former foreign minister picked up in Dubai, was in the VIP circle with beau David Panton, who has still not been able to convince our running-mad former Liberal deputy leader to join his Manly swim club. They rubbed shoulders with many longtime LV clients including former Sydneysider and Big Brother star Aphrodite Bouari, who now lives in Western Australia. “I get my LV DSL-ed to Karratha; it’s what keeps me alive,” she said.
The Cannon-Brookeses, who were out on a date night, walked to the afterparty at Campbell’s Cove Stores at The Rocks rather than take the chauffeur-driven transport. They made the most of the Sydney weather, as they are preparing to pack their tribe of four children off for a white Christmas in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with Annie’s parents.
“My parents went to Antarctica, and it was warmer there than Michigan,” Mr Cannon-Brookes told PS. The tech billionaire, who travels monthly to the United States, met his American-born wife at the airport when she was on her way home to Michigan. Home is now Australia’s most expensive house, Fairwater, where the couple live with their four children aged between two and eight.
Mischief in town
Private Sydney got into a lot of Mischief on Thursday. All 54 metres of it, in fact, on the superyacht of the same name, owned by Dial A Dump founder Ian Malouf and now on Sydney Harbour and available for charter. The floating palace, which James Packer, his sister Gretel, Kris Jenner, P Diddy and Will Smith have all sailed aboard in Europe, will now remain in Australian waters. Multi-hat winning chef Grant King, of Pier and Gastro Park fame, has come aboard as executive chef. Malouf’s wife Larissa found herself in a pickle – with no chef and a large Sunday lunch slated aboard the boat. Dominique Deloughery of Hospitality Recruitment Australia sent King, who bought, cooked and served a meal within hours, and promptly had a job. Malouf’s 23-year-old daughter Ellie – who runs Ahoy Club, a sort of “Uber for yachts” – will offer around 3500 boats for hire. Mischief is the jewel of the crown of vessels, rented at an hourly rate of around $15,000 or around $500,000 per week.
As it is moored at Jones Bay Wharf, next door to the PS office, the Maloufs invited us aboard to see the royal blue and white plush interiors. From the moment you step aboard onto the soft, white plush carpet and are offered a moist towel and a crystal glass of any libation, it is clear this is as far from a Captain Cook harbour cruise as you can get. Huge black and white images of Brigitte Bardot, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards by photographer Helmut Newton don the walls; there’s a media room and a top-deck spa. Queenstown raised kiwi chef King, who now lives in Bellevue Hill, has tested his sea legs in the kitchen, and reports “the biggest waves you get are when a ferry passes you on the harbour”. The super-luxe vessel is still available for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and will likely make a journey to Melbourne in time for the Australian Open, Ms Malouf reports.
Bauer claims its first scalp
The merger of women’s magazine icons Woman’s Day and New Idea was bound to end in tears.
With Packer and Sons on the Belvoir stage, one can only imagine what former Woman’s Day owner ACP boss Kerry Packer would have made of the deal with another Kerry: Kerry Stokes, the Seven West boss who sold New Idea‘s parent company Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media for $40 million.
The pistols-at-dawn-style battle for editorial control has ended this week with Bauer Media, which acquired Packer’s ACP Magazines for $500 million in 2012, asking New Idea‘s editor-in-chief Emma Nolan to step aside. This left Woman’s Day editor Fiona Connolly in charge of the magazine’s once-great royal-watching rivals. Questions remain over the role of Louisa Hatfield, the former Pacific Magazine’s publishing director, and several other senior editorial people.
Sporting stars wiped out
Four-time world champion surfer Nat Young has lost his house in bushfires an hour inland from Angourie near Nymboida on the NSW north coast in the recent bushfires. Yet in true “show must go on” style, the Independent candidate for the NSW seat of Pittwater in 1986 continued the US tour for his seventh book, Church of the Open Sky, when the news reached him. “The whole place burnt right to the ground,” he told surfing blog The Inertia. “It’s not just a normal house, this was a castle,” he said of the home he built himself from timber cut on the property. His surfing son Bryce had to put down four of their 35 cattle and is assessing the damage to see which surfing heirlooms can be salvaged.
Meanwhile, Australia’s most decorated trap shooter and six-time Olympian Michael Diamond is about to sell his second gold medal to pay for healthcare costs while he’s in hospital awaiting a heart transplant. Auction House Leonard Joel will put Diamond’s first gold medal, from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games (an estimated value of $50,000-$70,000), under the hammer this Thursday. In 1996, Diamond became the first Australian to win an Olympic shooting event since 1900. He won gold again in Sydney but sold that 2000 Olympic medal for $72,000 in 2017.
Helen Pitt is a journalist at the The Sydney Morning Herald.