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Kimberley Jane Kitching (1970–2022)

by Matthew Knott

It was December 15, 2017, and the fate of the Turnbull Government hung in the balance. The Bennelong by-election was to be held the next day, where a Labor win would consign the Coalition to minority government. Losing the north shore Sydney seat once held by former prime minister John Howard would be a disastrous end to a turbulent year for the Libs, and a massive boost for the Opposition.

Labor leader Bill Shorten, however, was on this day dealing with a drama in his own backyard. With the national media focused on Bennelong, Shorten was in his electorate office, a suite on the first floor of Melbourne shopping centre Moonee Ponds Central, for a covert meeting with a delegation of powerbrokers from the Victorian Right. They included state upper-house MP Adem Somyurek, plumbing union boss Earl Setches and Shorten's long-time friend and political ally Andrew Landeryou, the latter best known for his one-time poison-pen blog, VEXNEWS. On the agenda was an audacious plan for a new power-sharing deal, one that would transform Labor politics in Shorten's home state.

To anyone outside the political class, such power plays can seem irrelevant, dull even. To anyone inside the bubble, this was dynamite. The proposed new arrangement – backed by some of the biggest Labor unions on the Left and Right – would tear up the decade-old "stability pact" that had determined who gets preselected for state and federal seats in Victoria. Among those who would be sidelined by the new deal were the Socialist Left, which is Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' faction, and veteran Labor powerbroker Kim Carr. Among the winners would be key unions associated with Shorten's factional grouping, whose leaders signed onto the pact in February.

One of the strongest supporters of the proposed deal was also Senator Kimberley Kitching, a 48-year-old former lawyer, policy adviser, Melbourne City councillor and union official who had taken up Stephen Conroy's seat in Federal Parliament a year or so prior. A fellow member of the Right, on this day she was hundreds of kilometres away, questioning defence officials about the purchase of offshore patrol vessels at a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra. Her absence from the Melbourne meeting, however, said nothing of her place at the heart of Shorten's power base.

Kitching is married to Landeryou, and the pair are extremely close to the Labor leader, not only politically but personally. Landeryou and Shorten became friends through student politics in Melbourne, while Kitching grew up in Brisbane with Shorten's wife, Chloe. In the early 2000s Landeryou and Kitching holidayed in Cuba with Shorten and his first wife Deborah Beale, along with the late billionaire businessman Richard Pratt and his wife Jeanne. When Shorten turned 50 last May, Kitching and Landeryou were among those who celebrated with him at his Moonee Ponds home.

According to some observers, Kitching and Landeryou are two halves of one political unit, the closest thing Australia has to Frank and Claire Underwood, the scheming protagonists from Netflix's political thriller House of Cards. "No couple in politics works as closely together as they do," says one Labor colleague. "Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull would not come close."

Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari says Kitching's influence belies her status as a first-term backbencher. "Kimberley has had a longer relationship with Bill than anyone else in Parliament," Dastyari says. "In the rough-and-tumble world of Victorian politics, relationships that last for decades have a special significance. I don't know of any other backbenchers who get visits from Bill in their office in Canberra." Dastyari, who exited politics late last year amid a donor scandal, adds: "I expect her to have a meteoric rise in the Senate."

While the Liberals held on in Bennelong, Labor's new power-sharing pact is still being fiercely debated, an unwelcome distraction for Shorten, who has presided over a remarkably unified party since becoming Opposition Leader in 2013. If more factional bosses sign onto the deal, Landeryou and Kitching are expected to become more influential in the Labor Party. Their influence will only grow if Shorten becomes prime minister at the next election.

The couple's closeness to the Labor leader, and his loyalty to them, infuriates and puzzles many of his colleagues. Kitching and Landeryou have colourful backstories that are littered with controversy, Landeryou's in particular. Between them they've survived bankruptcy, accusations of skulduggery, and more. In April 2017, Landeryou and three other men were fined $1000 each for vandalising and stealing Greens and Liberal polling material at the 2016 federal election. The judge castigated them for behaving "more like schoolboys than adults". While some say Kitching should be judged on her own merits and performance in Parliament, others say it's naive to separate her out from her husband; that they come as a package deal.

The controversies help explain why some Labor MPs were apoplectic in October 2016 when Kitching was chosen to fill Conroy's prized Senate seat. Kitching was chosen by a powerful committee of party officials and trade union leaders by 79 votes to three. Political reporters didn't have to look far to find party insiders who were willing to blast the decision, albeit on condition of anonymity, as a "big mistake", or a "political suicide note" for Shorten. Conroy tried to block Kitching from entering Parliament, as did Labor frontbencher Richard Marles. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, it was later reported, was so incensed he threatened to resign from the front bench.

The Turnbull Government held up Kitching's entry to the Senate as a symbol of everything wrong with the modern Labor Party. Former workplace relations minister Eric Abetz described her as a "dodgy" former union boss who was "unfit for public office". Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said her appointment was a "stitch-up" that showed Labor was controlled by the unions.

The outrage, however, subsided in the months following Kitching's arrival to Canberra. "She is a person of enormous energy and commitment," concedes Richard Marles, the shadow defence minister. "She has worked really hard to build relationships with people who didn't support her preselection and I was one of them. She's doing all the right things."

As well as critics, Kitching has a set of staunch allies and admirers – Shorten first among them. "She's surprised a lot of people and she's certainly won new fans in Canberra," the Opposition Leader tells Good Weekend. "She's proven herself as an extremely hard worker and a sharp operator. Just spend a few minutes watching her in Senate estimates and you'll know she belongs here. If she's on your side, you'll know about it. If she's not on your side, you'll know that, too, as a few of the Libs have found out the hard way."

Michael Danby, the Labor member for Melbourne Ports, has described her as "the most intellectually impressive woman active on the moderate side of Labor politics". Robert Doyle, who resigned last month as Melbourne lord mayor amid scandal, has called her "a very loyal friend and a ferocious enemy".

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong has this to say about her fellow Senator: "Kimberley has a very strong work ethic and she doesn't lack courage." It's rare for Wong to agree with News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt but he also praises Kitching, with whom he has been friends for more than a decade.

"She is spunky, sharp, she's got guts," he says, adding, "Her list of enemies in the Labor Party is probably longer than mine!" But he admits she can still be an enigma. "Sometimes I wonder how well I really know her."

Kitching's loyalty to Shorten is on stark display at her Parliament House office. While many Labor MPs decorate their office walls with banners supporting a cause – disability workers, marriage equality, TAFE – visitors to Kitching's office are greeted by a larger-than-life poster of a smiling Shorten, for whom she organised intimate fund-raising dinners during the 2016 election campaign. Kitching is known for preceding conversations with "I was just talking to Bill" or "as Bill said the other day".

The loyalty cuts both ways: Shorten has supported Kitching whenever she's put her hand up to enter Parliament, including her bid in 2013 when she was unsuccessful for Labor preselection.

Unlike most ambitious arrivals to federal politics, who are desperate to build a media profile, Kitching has avoided the spotlight in her first year in Parliament. She began making regular appearances last month on Bolt's evening talk show on Sky News and has become more active on Twitter, where she takes obvious delight in attacking her political opponents.

Mostly, though, she prefers to operate in the shadows. At first she's reluctant to speak to Good Weekend, asking coyly: "Why would you want to write about me?" She's particularly wary of Fairfax Media, which she feels has been too harsh in its coverage of her and her husband. When she was selected to enter the Senate, The Age ran an opinion piece headlined, "A Senate appointment Shorten will regret." But eventually – after several lengthy off-the-record chats – she agrees to participate in a profile. Kitching knows she has a story to tell. "I've led an interesting life," she says. "I've done things that aren't typical."

We meet for lunch at one of her favourite restaurants, Il Solito Posto, an upscale Italian eatery tucked in a laneway off Collins Street in Melbourne's CBD. It's packed with well-dressed businesspeople enjoying boozy Friday lunches. Kitching is short, has a soft voice and is quick to smile, revealing a small gap between her front teeth. Her short hair, which has changed over the years from brown to blonde to red, is today coloured auburn. At first she's cautious and stilted in her answers, but eventually she relaxes and walks me through her life story.

While other Labor MPs celebrate their battler heritage, Kitching's upbringing was undeniably upper-middle class. The daughter of an organic chemist father, Bill, and physiotherapist mother, Leigh, she and her younger brother Ben were raised in the affluent Brisbane suburb of St Lucia, home to the main campus of the University of Queensland. Future governor-general Quentin Bryce, then a law professor, and her family lived down the road. Kitching would walk to and from primary school with Bryce's daughter Chloe, who would later become Bill Shorten's second wife.

Much of Kitching’s childhood was spent overseas. Her father Bill received academic postings all over the world and would take his family with him. Not long after arriving at one exotic location – Oxford, North Carolina, Barcelona, Bavaria, Bordeaux – they were off to another. "My parents had no compunction about sending me to school in places I didn't know the language," Kitching says. She is fluent in French and Spanish and can speak Italian, German and Russian. Her peripatetic upbringing honed other skills, too. "Constant movement," she says, "makes you observant."

Kitching’s family settled back in Australia in time for her to finish high school at Brisbane Girls Grammar, following which she was accepted to study arts and law at the University of Queensland. It was the late 1980s and change was in the air; National Party premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen had resigned in 1987 after two decades of populist, authoritarian rule.

Becoming an adult in this new climate of optimism, Kitching joined Young Labor and become active in student politics. She ran for student union president on the moderate ticket but lost to the Left's Murray Watt, who also entered Federal Parliament in 2016. Her factional identity defines her to this day.

"I was never attracted to the far Left," she says. "The centre of politics is where the gravitas and responsibility lies." In her maiden speech, Kitching talked with a passion for small government, saying: "Our duty as elected representatives is to check and limit the inexorable growth of the state and of the taxes that sustain the state."

Kitching's friend John Roskam, executive director of the free-market Institute of Public Affairs think tank, says she is part of a "dying breed" in the Labor Party. "She represents traditional Labor Right values in a party that is being dragged to the left. She doesn't hate capitalism, she doesn't hate employers, she would view the Greens as just as much an enemy of the Labor Party as the Liberals."

A pivotal moment in Kitching's life came when, not long after graduating, she went to a Young Labor fund-raising night in Midginbil Hill, a town just across the border in the NSW northern rivers region. There she met a law student from Bond University, Andrew Landeryou. The two were on the same trivia team, and they won. "I realised he was as nastily competitive as I was," Kitching says with a laugh. They shared the same sense of humour and the same politics. "There was that spark. We stayed up all night talking."

In his early 20s, Landeryou was already an unpopular figure. He had moved to the Gold Coast to study at Bond after a tumultuous stint as president of the Melbourne University Student Union, which saw him sacked after trying to commercialise student services. This didn't deter Kitching, who had finished her degree and was by now working for a Brisbane law firm. The pair became an item, leaving Queensland in 1995 for Landeryou's hometown of Melbourne, and marrying in 2000.

Their arrival in Melbourne dovetailed with the early days of the internet, which was fast morphing from a tool for members of the military and academia into something more widely used. At about the time Amazon and eBay were launching in the US, Kitching and Landeryou were getting into tech in Melbourne, Kitching as a lawyer at LookSmart, an online advertising company that became the first Australian tech firm to list on the NASDAQ exchange. (The company was co-founded by entrepreneur Evan Thornley, who later entered Victoria's parliament as a Labor MP.) Landeryou, meanwhile, had launched his own software start-up, IQ Corporation, a sports statistics and online gaming company.

Kitching and Landeryou were also busy immersing themselves in Victorian Labor politics. They had a head start: Landeryou's father, Bill, was a minister in the Cain Government in the 1980s. Kitching was elected to Melbourne City Council in 2001. She loved the job, which brought her into contact with the city's movers and shakers across politics, business and the arts.

One of the most high profile moments in her time on the council came when she championed the removal of a publicly funded anti-Israel mural from the CBD. The work featured a large Star of David and described 200,000 Palestinians being killed and 385 towns destroyed since the creation of the state of Israel. "People went berserk when we took it down," Kitching, a passionate supporter of Israel, recalls with delight. "I must have done every talkback show in Australia that week."

In 2001, Landeryou and Kitching bought Wardlow, a heritage-listed mansion in the well-to-do inner-city suburb of Parkville, paying $1.175 million for it. A real-estate listing from the time boasted of its "cigar room", "servants' wings" and "formal dining room". Fans of the ABC series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries will recognise it as the exterior of protagonist Phryne Fisher's house.

By now in their early 30s, the pair would host parties at home that guests still compare to the lavish soirées in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. "It was a who's who of up-and-coming Melbourne, people from business, unions, the arts," one attendee recalls. "They were living the high life." Kitching was also driving a $92,000 series 5 BMW.

Then, in 2004, it all came tumbling down.

Landeryou was facing two crises. First, he was wanted for questioning over his role in the financial collapse of the University of Melbourne student union, where he had emerged as a behind-the-scenes player since his return from Queensland. Liquidator Dean McVeigh claimed there was "conspiracy in relation to the alleged diversion of profit from the union bar and food outlets" to Landeryou and his business partner, former student union president Ben Cass, through various firms. Among the contracts under scrutiny was a $46-million potential liability with property development group Optima, co-controlled by Landeryou and Cass, to provide student accommodation. Another company co-owned by Landeryou, Marbain, had secured a lease over a university bar.

Meanwhile, amid the detritus of the bursting of the dotcom bubble, Landeryou's online sports betting company had gone belly-up. Retailing tycoon Solomon Lew, worth about $900 million at the time, had invested in the company and was furious, demanding he be paid back $3 million. Landeryou responded by leaving the country for five months. Insisting she had no idea where her husband was or when he was coming back, Kitching filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

Her financial statement of affairs from the time makes for grim reading. The 35-year-old owed $42,000 on her car, had $6600 in unpaid parking fines and owed her father $35,700. She claimed to have just $60 in three bank accounts. To help repay the debt to Lew, Kitching sold the Parkville mansion at auction for $1.84 million and moved into an apartment in the city on her own. A Herald Sun headline from the time screamed "Labor rat left me bankrupt: civic star to lose her mansion", capturing how scandalised Melbourne was by the saga. The Age summarised the affair as "The tycoon, the socialite, the missing husband and the millions". One gossip columnist reported Kitching had been spotted in a T-shirt with the slogan "boys lie".

In April 2005 Landeryou returned from overseas, revealing he had been in Costa Rica, and was promptly arrested; he'd ignored a summons to appear in court over the student union liquidation. Surprising onlookers by declining to apply for bail, he spent a weekend in the Melbourne Assessment Prison before being released. Although the liquidator issued a multimillion-dollar writ against Landeryou and others, he never had to pay any damages and was not charged over the matter.

Separated from her husband, no longer on the council and ejected from her home. Kitching couldn't believe how far she had fallen. "It was the toughest time of my life," she says now. "Things had been pretty blessed until then."

Slowly but surely, she started putting her life back together. She settled her debts and in 2006 her bankruptcy was annulled – a crucial move as undischarged bankrupts are not allowed to enter Parliament. Kitching took on a corporate affairs job with human relations firm Drake International. She then became an adviser to the Brumby government in Victoria, first to industry minister Theo Theophanous and then to treasurer John Lenders. And she got back together with Landeryou.

"Many people were telling me I should get divorced and I thought about it, but I took my marriage vows seriously." The whole experience, she says, changed her forever. "There are some people I really like, in which case I am very unguarded. But there are fewer of those people now. I know what it's like to be gossiped about, so I'm very good at keeping secrets."

A day after our lunch, I meet Kitching at her favourite brunch spot, Lolo & Wren, a hipster-friendly cafe in Melbourne's inner north. When I arrive she's there, clad in a stylish grey poncho, with four Saturday newspapers in front of her. I'd expected her to be alone but Landeryou is present as well. So are their dogs Ronnie and Nancy-Jane, a pair of fluffy white cavoodles named after Ronald Reagan, Landeryou's political hero, and the late US president's two wives.

Landeryou, who has thin lips, a round face and a mischievous twinkle in his eye, has a fearsome reputation in Labor circles, despite never having held a position in the party. He's currently not even a member; his application to reactivate his membership has been unprocessed since 2016. The reason is often said to be VEXNEWS, the Gawker-style political gossip site he operated from 2008 to 2013. Vicious and entertaining in equal measure, it earned him the nickname Slanderyou.

Crikey founder Stephen Mayne, a former Melbourne City councillor who has had a long-running feud with Landeryou, says: "People are scared of him. If anyone crosses him he goes absolutely feral."

This side of Landeryou is not present at brunch, where he's all charm. When I mention that his crispy croque-monsieur looks delicious, he deposits half the sandwich on my plate, going on to explain the genesis of his site. "I set up the original blog because The Age was having a go at me. I ran out of material about myself and discovered I loved writing about politics. It was a joy, a hobby that became all-consuming."

Others recall it less fondly. When Shorten and Labor MP David Feeney, a one-time friend turned factional rival, were battling for control of the Health Services Union, Landeryou attacked Feeney on VEXNEWS as "morbidly obese ... [an] enabler of evil". When Tim Watts, a former Stephen Conroy staffer, defeated Kitching for preselection for the safe Labor seat of Gellibrand in April 2013, Landeryou described him as a "politically clueless smug cold fish". Journalists, political staffers and little-known student politicians were also targeted for ridicule.

Kitching insists she didn't read the blog and had nothing to do with its contents. Nonetheless, it was used by her opponents against her. "I've often been collateral damage in attacks on Andrew," Kitching says, her sunny demeanour suddenly turning icy and intense. "When I ran for Gellibrand there were a lot of women who call themselves feminists – some of whom are very well known – who said they couldn't vote for me because of VEXNEWS. I thought they were hypocrites."

In July 2013, following Kitching's defeat in the Gellibrand preselection, Landeryou announced he would no longer write VEXNEWS. "I realised how much political injury it was doing to the ones I loved," he explained in a long, mournful farewell post.

In an interview days later with Shorten, ABC radio presenter Jon Faine described the site as "full of disreputable, defamatory and disgraceful material about politics in Victoria and nationally". At the time, Kitching was in the running for former prime minister Julia Gillard's old seat of Lalor in Melbourne's south-west. "Does it in some way tarnish her bid for preselection that the man she is married to has scored so many hits and created so many enemies in political circles here?" Faine asked. Responded Shorten: "I am friends with Kimberley and I think she would be good." He added that she deserved to be judged on her own merits. (Kitching withdrew from the fight for Lalor.)

It's a question that comes up whenever you discuss Kitching: how much should she be held accountable for Landeryou's actions? Says John Roskam: "They're certainly a team. They're very close and support each other but it's medieval to judge a wife on the actions of her husband." Another who believes it unfair to judge Kitching by her husband's actions is Monash City councillor Geoff Lake. "It seems everyone in the party has an opinion about Kimberley and in most cases it's not a favourable one. However, most of these seem to be based more on who she is married to and assumptions formed by people who have never actually met her. I have always found her to be an intelligent, well-read and engaging person to deal with."

Others insist it is too convenient for Kitching to distance herself from her husband. "Kimberley is a very charming, warm, engaging, highly intelligent moral vacuum," a senior figure from the Labor Left says. "It strains credulity to think she hasn't been aware or benefited from the stuff Andrew has been up to."

Stephen Mayne agrees: "People quite rightly say you shouldn't judge someone based on their husband or wife, but the honest truth is that Kimberley's CV does not merit a plum six-year Senate term. She got there courtesy of long-term factional game-playing, which was ultimately about Bill Shorten repaying Landeryou for many of years of factional skulduggery that assisted Shorten's ruthless climb to the top of the ALP tree."

Told of these comments, Kitching bursts out laughing. "I have never spoken to Stephen Mayne, so I'm not sure how he has formed an opinion about me." It's a line Shorten echoes: "Quite a few people seem to have an opinion on Kimberley before they even meet her."

The difficult of untangling Kitching's actions from those of Landeryou is seen clearly in their involvement in the Health Services Union. Like so much else in their history, it's murky, disputed territory.

In 2012 the HSU was put into administration after former national secretary Craig Thomson and president Michael Williamson were accused of misappropriating members’ money. (Later, national secretary Kathy Jackson was also accused of wrongdoing.) That year, elections were held for the HSU’s troubled Victorian No. 1 branch. The contest pitted Marco Bolano, an ally of Kathy Jackson and David Feeney, against Diana Asmar, a former mayor of Darebin Council and an ally of Shorten and Conroy. Landeryou championed Asmar on his blog and helped co-ordinate her campaign. She won. When she took over the branch, Asmar hired Kitching as the union’s general manager.

Kitching recalls the scene when she and Asmar first entered the union office in South Melbourne: "Everything had been shredded. That was just the beginning of the dysfunction. Nothing worked. The phone system was on a loop. The computers wouldn't turn on because the hard drives had been taken out. Workplace agreements had been left outstanding for years."

As well as making the union functional again, Kitching says she and Asmar spent hours piecing together torn-up financial statements, which they provided to the police. "We were like the children in Argo," she says referring to the Oscar-winning movie in which a group of Iranians reconstitute shredded documents to uncover the identities of missing CIA agents.

Says Conroy: "Kimberley and Diana had the toughness to take on the Kathy Jackson publicity machine, run in a ballot against her allies and defeat them. She doesn't get the credit she deserves for exposing Jackson." Exemplifying the ever-shifting alliances on the Victorian Right, Conroy, once a foe, is now a fan of Kitching.

But Brad Norington, a veteran journalist at The Australian who has written a book about the HSU affair, has argued that Kitching and Asmar's supporters have peddled "ridiculous myths" about their role in exposing corruption at the union. "The Kitching-Landeryou infiltration has been yet again all about giving factional numbers to Shorten so he can prop up his dominance of the Victorian ALP Right," he concluded in a 2016 article.

During the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, former High Court judge Dyson Heydon examined claims by several witnesses that Kitching had "falsely and deceitfully" sat online right-of-entry tests for other HSU officials. In order to enter a workplace to recruit or investigate complaints, union officials must first have a right-of-entry permit issued by the Fair Work Commission. The secretary of the No. 3 branch, Craig McGregor, testified that Kitching had boasted to him about scoring 100 per cent on the tests. Kitching, speaking under oath, denied sitting the tests and said the allegations had been made up by internal rivals in the union. Heydon concluded in his December 2014 interim report that there was "overwhelming" evidence Kitching sat the tests. He recommended the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) consider charges against her for "aiding and abetting" the making of false statements.

In a separate ruling in July 2015, Fair Work Commission vice-president Graeme Watson concluded that Kitching had sat the tests and described her evidence to the contrary as "unreliable", "untruthful" and "somewhat implausible". He added: "Making false declarations and failing to complete training that is a requirement for a right-of-entry permit are serious matters that strike at the heart of the integrity of the right-of-entry permit system." Kitching continues to insist she never sat the tests and the DPP has not pursued any charges against her. In November 2016, the month Kitching was formally sworn into the Senate, the No. 1 branch of the Victorian HSU (now the Health Workers Union) reaffiliated with the ALP, providing a welcome boost to Shorten's factional clout in his home state.

After finishing brunch, Kitching and Landeryou offer me a lift back to the CBD in their red Ford Territory. Kitching drives while Landeryou sits in the back with Ronnie and Nancy-Jane bouncing around on his lap. They have dubbed the SUV the "Conroy-mobile"; Conroy had used it as his work vehicle. She is excited about returning to Canberra for another sitting week. "Pauline Hanson asked me one day why I was smiling. I said, 'I love it, I just love being here.' " 

Kitching has thrown herself into her parliamentary duties, racking up $20,000 on domestic flights jetting between committee meetings in her first three months in office – an amount that dwarfs that of many Turnbull government ministers. She has also travelled overseas on parliamentary delegations to Jordan and Lebanon, where she visited Syrian refugee camps; to India, where she met the Dalai Lama; to Papua New Guinea; and to Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar. She doesn't deny ambition: "A lot of people in politics want to be on the front bench."

Kitching also has big plans for the Victorian Right, where she is an active participant in factional matters. "I want us to be a functioning powerhouse of ideas again," she says. "I want us to be about more than just tribal loyalty." The latest outbreak of infighting suggests this is some way off.

In a January speech, outgoing ALP national president and left-wing frontbencher Mark Butler said the new power-sharing deal in Victoria was the type of "backroom buffoonery" that reflects an unhealthy party culture. He also attacked a "powerful group of factional leaders" in Victoria for refusing to open up the process for preselecting senators to party members.

Kitching opposes giving rank-and-file members a say on the grounds it could drive the party too far to the left and make it unelectable. She offers a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: "Lofty principles butter no bread and grease no wheels."

I can find no evidence that Bonaparte ever said this, but never mind. For Kitching, it's a motto to live by. Noble ideals are wonderful, but winning power: that's the thing that matters.

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Citation details

Matthew Knott, 'Kitching, Kimberley Jane (1970–2022)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012