Two of the leading female contenders to replace Kelly O’Dwyer in federal Parliament have engaged in an unseemly and at times vicious “catfight” outside the retiring minister’s electorate office in the Melbourne seat of Higgins.
The Bug understands the unedifying stoush happened when the Countess Dowager Lady Georgina Downer (pictured below) and local businesswoman Simone-Bree Heeney (pictured further below) both turned up at Ms O’Dwyer’s office at the same time, clutching their CVs and seeking the outgoing minister’s support for their campaigns.
Fred Smark, who runs one of the five Range Rover dealerships in the electorate and saw the entire incident unfold, told The Bug: “There was a lot of high-pitched squealing followed by a screeching ‘I’ll scratch your eyes out, you bitch!’ but to be fair Lady Downer’s servant gave as good as she got, too.
“I just wish I’d had my phone handy. That would have cleaned up first prize in any series of Funniest Home Videos.”
Lady Downer – who by the time The Bug made contact with her had flown interstate to examine what her chances for preselection were in Gilmore, the seat based around Nowra in NSW and being vacated by Ann Sudmarlis – suggested The Bug take “a long, hard look at Ms Heeney’s background. You might be surprised at what pops up!”.
While she refused to be interviewed afterwards, Ms Heeney said she had been born and raised in the Higgins electorate, ran her business there – Intimate Personal Assistants or IPA for short – and would make a perfect replacement for “an outstanding minister who has decided quite rightly that it’s time to put her family first”.
“Higgins deserves better than a fatuous, lightweight fraud, FIFO [fly-in, fly-out] seat seeker with no affiliations whatsoever with the people of this electorate,” Ms Heeney said.
“The Heeneys have lived in this general area for generations. Like all those before me, I did my entire schooling locally before starting the IPA and as a child I naturally owned a Malvern Star bicycle.”