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Victorian Liberal MP Brad Battin turned to some impressive visual aids on Sunday to lay out an alternative theory on how a car crash involving Premier Daniel Andrews’ wife, Catherine, a government car and a young cyclist on the Mornington Peninsula unfolded.
Stunned journalists were taken through a room full of purpose-built 3D models, complete with a blood-splattered cardboard car, to recreate that day in 2013, when Catherine, driving the Andrews family home from the beach, turned a corner and collided with a teen on his bike.
Colin Robertson presents his research into the Andrews car crash in 2013 at a press conference called by Liberal MP Brad Battin.Credit: Paul Jeffers
Ryan Meuleman was seriously injured in the crash and is now suing major law firm Slater & Gordon for failing to conduct “a full and proper investigation into the circumstances”.
Police closed the case without pressing charges and were then cleared themselves of any wrongdoing by the corruption watchdog (though it was noted Catherine hadn’t been breath-tested at the scene).
Battin has now written to IBAC to demand the regulator take a second look. Stunning new evidence has come to light, he said. “There’ll be a book written about what happened with that car accident.”
He then handed over to engineer Colin Robertson for a 3D run-through. Using Photoshop and “other techniques” – including a field trip out to the crash site to take dimensions –Robertson said he’d recreated an authentic diagram of what happened, at odds with the police diagram of events
Colin Robinson and Liberal MP Brad Battin speak about a car crash involving Premier Daniel Andrews and his wife, Catherine.Credit: Paul Jeffers
The Andrews have always said that the cyclist collided with the side of their car. Robertson claims his reconstruction shows that isn’t possible.
“There’s so many problems and inconsistencies I almost don’t know where to start,” he said. According to Robertson, those included the position of the bike track and the point of impact, which he’d calculated three to four full car lengths further down the road. “That’s irrefutable,” he said.
As an ex-cop, Battin said he would have been lambasted by his superiors if he’d handled the case the way it was. “The only truth is coming out now.” Victoria police offered no comment on their former colleague’s feedback.
But while Robertson was introduced to the press as an industrial engineer consulting for the Meuleman family on their damages case, he later told CBD he wasn’t sure if his evidence would actually see a courtroom.
Robertson is a product engineer, he confirmed. He is not a forensic traffic investigator. He used Google Maps and AI tools to help pinpoint locations after hearing of the crash on the news.
“I have technical expertise, but they’ll get in a traffic engineer for the court case I think,” he said. “I’m really just some random guy who had questions and decided to be an amateur Sherlock Holmes.”
This self-described citizen detective said he has met with Meuleman and, going forward, may yet officially consult on his case. But he stressed: “It’s not political for me. And I’m not after money. I was just concerned.”
When queried by CBD on Sunday, Battin said he wasn’t totally across Robertson’s expertise and hadn’t spoken to the Meuleman family himself, but he still found the evidence compelling.
As for the premier, when asked about this “new evidence” on Sunday, he said he was standing by his story. “Nothing further to add.”
Maybe he hadn’t seen all the visual aids…
Billionaire mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest made a typically understated arrival at Fortescue’s 20th birthday bash at its Pilbara mine site on Saturday night, entering the outdoor venue on a gigantic tip truck, waving a huge company flag. The background music? AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, of course.
Twiggy was in a party mood, delivering several speeches – some of which brought the house down. He became emotional several times, including while announcing former CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall would be joining the board.
gCredit: Jozsef Benke
The event carried an eclectic guest list. Corporate figures including Jack Cowin, Alex Waislitz and Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin made the cut, as did Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan.
Polling supremo Mark Textor, Labor everywhere-man Lachlan Harris and Indigenous leader Noel Pearson took time out from the Yes campaign to join in, as did media types including Eddie McGuire, Herald editor Bevan Shields, AFR columnist Jennifer Hewett, Sky News host Laura Jayes, and News Corp’s Ben English and Joe Hildebrand.
Saturday was largely a politician-free zone, but there were video messages by Australian prime ministers Anthony Albanese, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard, former British prime ministers Boris Johnson and Tony Blair, a raft of serving or former state premiers, and US senator Joe Manchin.
However, CBD’s favourite video message came from musician Gene Simmons, who sent his congratulations for reasons we still aren’t entirely clear on. In any event, the crowd loved it. Speaking of rockers, Jimmy Barnes screamed his way through an hour-plus set. Someone get that man a Strepsil!
Kwasi Kwarteng, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer for about five minutes under the disastrous Liz Truss reign, put in an appearance. So too did Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko, who has struck up a bromance with Twiggy thanks to the businessman’s admirable support of the war-torn country.
Twiggy’s wife of 31 years, Nicola Forrest, was a notable absence following the pair’s recent separation. She did send a video message.
RESERVE BANK CHEER
While squeezing the life out of mortgage-holders around the country, the pointy heads at the Reserve Bank of Australia dropped thousands in taxpayers’ money on their own soirees, according to internal emails released under Freedom of Information.
In October, Governor Phil Lowe held an intimate reception to farewell outgoing Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority chair Wayne Byres, with tandoori chicken skewers and bottles of shiraz among the offerings.
In November, hours after delivering another interest rate rise, the bank hosted a special board dinner with the Hobart community, spending $13,700 on food, with the guests drinking nearly $4000 worth of Tasmanian booze to top it off. The Freycinet Louis chardonnay was a particular hit.
Soon, it was time to get planning on the annual Christmas Party, a chance to get loose and forget about all those months of public opprobrium.
“Also thinking about perhaps a photobooth (at no cost to people) with funny hats,” came a suggestion from one staffer. A DJ was booked in.
But soon, it seemed even the bank was feeling the pinch.
The photo booth idea was ditched. The bank decided to source its own Christmas decorations.
“I know [it] sounds not attractive but Kmart and Big W have some good Christmas decorations at a budget price,” one particularly bleak email read. Eventually, the RBA had to settle for “scattered bonbons” to bring the Christmas cheer.
The good news is everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, partying hard until the 9.30pm finish time.
In January, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sat down for a meeting with Bill Gates that surely sent Australia’s local conspiracy theorists into a tailspin.
But the PM hasn’t always had as much time for the billionaire philanthropist. Last July, Gates and ex-wife Melinda French Gates wrote to Albanese on behalf of their eponymous foundation, congratulating him on his recent election win, according to correspondence revealed under Freedom of Information.
How did Albo respond to the world’s fourth-richest person? Why by farming it off to an underling in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, of course!
Ash Collingburn, assistant secretary of the department’s global interests branch wrote back to Bill and Melinda, noting that he’d been asked to write on the PM’s behalf.
Undeterred, Gates sent Albanese a copy of his essay-length note on the year ahead last December, for a bit of light, festive holiday reading. This time, the PM didn’t reply.
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