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The Age

Monday March 21, 2011

Suzanne Carbone

Roll up to help a needy Labor causeLAST year was state ALP's annus horribilis when the unpalatable word "opposition" became its future for the next four years, but in the equivalent of inflating a shrivelled balloon Daniel Andrews and the team will meet and greet business bods who haven't wiped Labor contacts from their list. The party's fund-raising amigos in Progressive Business have spun the 2011 launch on March 31 as a "New start, new ideas and fresh approach" and that's what's needed at ALP HQ because 2010 campaign merchandise is still being sold. Given opposition MPs don't have much sway around town, Progressive Business has lined up federal ministers for the pay-for-pollie events. Assistant Treasurer and powerbroker Bill Shorten (pictured) is the guest on April 15 to chat about the budget and the economy, the invitation saying: "This event will be extremely popular and is limited to 22 guests." It's only $1500 for members or $2000 for non-members. True believers are saluting Bill for helping his state comrades get the dollar bills rolling in.The meat in the gourmet sandwichTRUST Melbourne to be the home of the gourmet meat tray. Gastropublican Julian Gerner has introduced the Friday meat raffle at his Middle Park Hotel with carnivorous delights worth $300. It's goodbye to fatty fatty snags and chops and hello to John Dee grain-fed beef, Plains Paddock lamb, Victorian Berkshire pork and Enviromeat grass-fed and dry-aged biodynamic Gippsland beef. If that sounds posh, Carlton Draught has a beer-infused wagyu beef meat tray worth $300. Farmer Jason Lewis, owner of Jac Wagyu, has reared 20 cattle on hops and malted barley worth $50,000 and says the animals have never been happier. That's because beer leads to cheer.Labels are a girl's best friendTWO mature-age international beauties who came here for the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival have left with more than memories. Helena Christensen, 42, was given two Alex Perry (pictured) dresses she wore during the men's runway show and kept his designer glasses in the Specsavers range. The Danish hottie asked to meet Perry and the sunglasses on his head so he went to her hotel, The Lyall in South Yarra, the haunt of the rich and fabulous. Helen O'Connor's Thurley label sent some frocks, which Christensen was delighted to keep. The model did part with some cash, buying a red pair of Alannah Hill shoes on Chapel Street. A girl's gotta eat, so she dined at cool Japanese hang-out Izakaya Den with Jefferson Hack, editor of Dazed & Confused magazine. Actor Andie MacDowell, L'Oreal's poster girl at 52, thinks we Aussies are "worth it", saying in her South Carolina accent: "I want to come back and see the outback." Her suitcase was filled with dresses by Scanlan & Theodore and LIFEwithBIRD, and Mimco accessories. MacDowell dined at the Stokehouse and went shopping, stocking up on Havaiana thongs with the Aussie flag, though for the benefit of any Yanks reading this may, it's thongs as in flip-flops, not G-strings.Cream of the cropROBERT Doyle should try out for the Olympic gymnastics team after doing a backflip and agreeing to attend the grand prix after slamming it as a $50 million waste. The backflip's degree of difficulty: easy, because he's done them before about banning travel junkets and reopening Swanston Street. The lord mayor did a photo shoot with MOR Cosmetics co-founder Deon StMor and managing director Jeff Nadelman to mark the Melbourne brand's 10th anniversary and was given soothing gifts worth $225 for a stressful day at the office. There was a Marshmallow Bathing Elixir, Snow Gardenia Emporium Body Butter and Italian Blood Orange Emporium Soap. Being a dutiful civic leader, Doyle will declare the gifts and, being a chivalrous fiance, he will share the goodies with his pretty fiancee Emma Page Campbell. They can unwind after a gruelling day at the track on Sunday by lighting a Black Cherry Plum Emporium Candle over a romantic dinner.

© 2011 The Age

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