Things were getting a bit grim under Rudd:
"All through this [Rudd's expulsion of an Israeli 'diplomat' etc], the Israeli ambassador to Australia and some members of the Jewish community felt a chill in their dealings with the government. Phone calls went unreturned, normal dealings seemed to be suspended. The Jewish community reciprocated. When Labour approached key groups to hold fund-raising events for the coming federal election, they feigned busyness, but it was a deliberate and unmistakeable retaliation. The Jewish community was an important source of Labor funds fror the 2007 election. A single lunch in Sydney raised $100,000. A Toorak tennis court party for 200, attended by Rudd and Julia Gillard, raised more." (What am I, chopped liver? How Rudd dived into schmooze mode, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6/10)
But thank God, Gillard's got things back on track:
"On Wednesday evening, as the rain fell outside, the heirs to Richard Pratt's multi-billion-dollar fortune - Alex and Heloise* Waislitz - opened their Toorak mansion to 20 of Melbourne's brightest young business people. The special guests were Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier John Brumby. And the price of admission? $5000 a head." (Leaders strike gold, hobnobbing with the top end of town, Damon Kitney, The Australian, 30/7/10)
[*Pratt's daughter and chair of the Pratt Foundation. See my posts Money Talks (26/7/10) and Money Talks 2 (27/7/10) ]
So what's coming up?
"Next Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister will be the guest of honour for more than 400 of Melbourne's corporate elite as they gather at the ritzy Sofitel Hotel at the top end of Collins Street... In Melbourne and other cities across the country, Ms Gillard and her most senior ministers are being offered up to the highest bidders in big business. Tony Abbott is doing the same in the rush to fill the campaign coffers, opening both parties up to fresh claims of cash for access." (ibid)
And after that?
"For one upcoming function at the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, the waiting list has grown to 700 to hear Ms Gillard talk... About 800 people are now scheduled to attend the function. Premium tables will set participants back $3300." (ibid)