Barilaro says ciao to Rushcutters Bay

Former NSW Nationals leaderJohn Barilaro endured a tense wait in the hot seat at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday.

But it’s not the only watch-and-wait scenario for the former deputy premier. Three weeks on from announcing his departure from state politics,Barilaro is now awaiting the sale of his inner-east apartment. The Queanbeyan-born MP who resigned in early October quietly tipped the two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment inside the Landmark Bayswater complex in Rushcutters Bay onto the market in the week of his resignation.

Surprise Chef:John Barilaro in the kitchen of his Rushcutters Bay apartment which is now for sale.

Surprise Chef:John Barilaro in the kitchen of his Rushcutters Bay apartment which is now for sale.Louie Douvis

The seventh-floor apartment with a lock-up garage is scheduled to go to auction on October 30 with a price guide of $1.55 million – which isn’t a bad step up from $1.335 million he paid in October 2016 when he first bought it. Sounds like a bargain,really. Officially,the pad is owned by a company controlled solely by Big John’s now-separated wifeDeanna Barilaro. But the MP has listed it on his parliamentary pecuniary interests as a joint asset.

It has views over Rushcutters Bay Park and is being spruiked by agents as “oversized”,“impeccably renovated” with “quality finishes”. Meanwhile,the park apparently is “Sydney’s most picturesque”. No doubt that’s Emerald City speak for “hard sell”.

Of course,the bolthole is where the MP retreated earlier this year after separating while Deanna remained at the couple’s 105ha country property south-east of Goulburn. And it’s not the only investment property in their portfolio. The couple own a home on Canberra’s outskirts in Jerrabomberra and another commercial property in Downer.

LORD OF THE RINGS

When we last heard fromJohn Coates,the Australian Olympic Committee president was in Tokyo humiliating Queensland PremierAnnastacia Palaszczuk as hemansplained her duty to attend the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony after Brisbane won the right to stage the 2032 Olympics. Many agreed it was beyond the pale.

Now the sports tsar has bounced back. Was that ever in doubt?

The wily 71-year-old has guaranteed himself a spot on the $4.9 billion Brisbane Games organising committee even after his positions expire. Coates will step down as AOC president next year and his second term as International Olympic Committee vice-president expires after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and John Coates.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and John Coates.Illustration:John Shakespeare

But the Lord of the Rings ain’t going anywhere.

Legislation will shortly be introduced into the Queensland Parliament creating the Brisbane Games organising committee. The spoils have already been divided.

Prime MinisterScott Morrison nominates four board members for OCOG (Organising Committee of the Olympic Games),Palaszczuk also nominates four and five independent members need to be agreed by both the state and federal governments.

The Brisbane lord mayor will be a member and gets to nominate another.

There are positions for Olympic and Paralympic officials and athletes including for the AOC president (Coates) and the AOC chief executiveMatt Carroll.

But the legislation will also contain a “Coates clause”,which will give the sports administrator a seat at the table after he leaves his AOC and IOC positions. Provision has been made for an OCOG seat to go to any honorary life presidents of the AOC. Honorary life presidents can only be a person who hasserved as AOC president for more than 13 years and has “rendered outstanding service to the Olympic movement and sport”.

And the only person on God’s Earth who has done that is one John Dowling Coates AC.

Surprised? Neither are we.

ZOO OF SUITS

It’s all eyes on the revered Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) this week as it kicks off a process to appoint a new chief executive. BossmanAngus Armour is leaving the organisation – which runs courses prepping suits for corporate life – at the end of October 2022,after turning down the board’s advances to stay for another term. The board led by former Ashurst national managing partnerJohn Atkin was frank about Armour’s decision,telling members they had been “delighted with Angus’ leadership and … obviously disappointed but respects the decision”.

Replacing the well-liked boss is a tough ask but it appears the task of settling on a recruitment firm is also proving to be difficult.

Russell Reynolds Associates ran the process in 2015 to recruit former chief executiveJohn Brogden. When the former NSW opposition leader left two years after a period of leave to tackle personal mental health concerns,the institute then tapped the comparatively lower profile Challis and Company,who hired Armour.

Some directors want to go again with the Sydney-based Challis but other directors are apparently keen on the optics of tapping an international brand. One director is keen to work with Swiss-domiciled recruiter Egon Zehnder. Only problem is,the firm is facing claims of tax fraud in New York amounting to more than $18 million. There are fearsthe local subsidiary could be drawn in to the investigation - at the same time,the AICD is aggressively pushing a global tax harmonisation agenda so it may not be the best look for an Australian member-based outfit to opt for a foreign firm with opaque tax structures.

Then there’s NSW government favourite Korn Ferry – which includes former Nationals ministerAdrian Piccoliand was formerly headed by NSW Liberal heavyweightRobert Webster – which also has a Dutch-based holding structure,and international outfit Spencer Stuart. A packed race.

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Samantha Hutchinson is a CBD columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp,and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.

Stephen Brook is a CBD columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a former features editor and media editor at The Australian,where he wrote the Media Diary column. He spent six years in London working for The Guardian.

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