A multimillionaire who is financing the so-called ‘teal independents’ has been embroiled in a fiery stoush with a Liberal frontbencher – as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg filmed it all on his mobile phone.
Jane Hume was canvassing for Mr Fydenberg in the seat of Kooyong when she was approached by Simon Holmes a Court, who was there to support candidate Monique Ryan.
‘Just leave me alone, Simon. Please leave me alone,’ said Ms Hume as Mr Holmes a Court stood in front of her.
‘You’re suing me for defamation, Simon, I don’t want to talk to you.’
Liberal senator Jane Hume (right) is pictured telling multimillionaire Simon Holmes a Court (left) she doesn’t want to talk to him as he is ‘suing’ her
Mr Holmes a Court replied that he has not sued her for defamation.
Ms Hume, who looked stressed by the encounter, said again, ‘Simon, you are suing me for defamation. Please leave me alone.
‘This may have legal implications. Please leave me alone, Simon.
‘You are the son of Australia’s first billionaire, you are suing me for defamation. Please leave me alone, leave me alone,’ she said.
Mr Holmes a Court then turned his attention to Mr Frydenberg, who was filming it all.
‘Josh, how’re you doing,’ he said to the Treasurer.
‘I agree with everything she says,’ Mr Frydenberg replied.
‘You agree with her lies?’ Mr Holmes a Court then asked.
‘Would you like to repeat her lies?’
After a few seconds of just standing there, with nothing said by either side, Mr Holmes a Court then said ‘Good on you mate.’
A male bystander is then heard saying ‘Why don’t you leave her alone and stop annoying everyone?’
Multimillionaire Simon Holmes a Court (pictured) stands directly in front of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is filming him
Mr Holmes a Court then again turns his attention to Ms Hume, who is the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy.
Ms Hume then again expresses her concern that even talking to Mr Holmes a Court could have ‘legal implications’ – before the video ends.
The clash with Ms Hume and Mr Frydenberg followed a controversial tweet on Wednesday where Mr Holmes a Court described the former Liberal prime minister John Howard as ‘the angel of death’.
Mr Howard condemned the social media post as ‘beneath contempt’.
Mr Holmes a Court denied last night that his ‘Angel of Death’ remark was a reference to the nickname given to Josef Mengele, who performed deadly experiments on prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II – as several commentators had made out.
Mr Holmes a Court said he is part Jewish and his tweet was misunderstood and taken out of context.
‘The quote refers solely to a Liberal’s description of Howard’ from a recent newspaper article, he said. The newspaper article had noted Mr Howard was visiting seats where the Coalition is on the nose.
Liberal senator Jane Hume (right) is pictured holding her hand up to multimillionaire Simon Holmes a Court (left) to indicate, yet again, that she doesn’t want to talk to him
Mr Holmes a Court, a son of Australia’s first billionaire, Robert Holmes a Court, has been trying to influence Saturday’s federal election by funding so-called teal independent candidates to oust Liberal MPs, several of them in wealthy, inner-city seats.
The clean energy investor set up a fundraising body called Climate 200 to raise huge sums for pro-climate candidates. Before the 2019 Federal election it raised $500,000 but this time around Mr Holmes a Court sought to raise $20million with the aim of getting three more independents into the federal parliament.
The organisation said it needs the massive sum to counter the huge amounts of money donated to political parties by billionaire Clive Palmer and fossil fuel companies.
Who is Simon Holmes à Court?
Simon Holmes à Court is a senior advisor to the Climate and Energy College at Melbourne University and director of the Smart Energy Council.
He was the founding chairman of Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, Hepburn Wind, and is one of four children of Robert Holmes à Court and his wife Janet.
Robert was born in Johannesburg in 1937 and moved to Perth to study law in 1961.
After working as barrister and solicitor, he built a business empire made up of companies in the resources, transport, media and beverage industries.
He died of a heart attack aged 53 in 1990, leaving his fortune to wife Janet and his children.
Robert’s eldest son Peter Holmes à Court is a multimillionaire entrepreneur who once owned the South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL team with Russell Crowe.