EXCLUSIVE: Hawthorn locals Kay and Michael Staindl are about to lose their home due to a personal vendetta from both Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and his fellow alleged creep in the Liberal Party, former Attorney-General Christian Porter. Pierce Field reports from Melbourne.
It has not been a good news month for our Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
First, someone had the hide to contest his blue-ribbon seat of Kooyong, with millions spent on the campaign to “Keep Josh”, rewarding him for his $60bn JobKeeper ‘whoopsie’.
It was then followed by his outing as an alleged creep by True Crime News Weekly, with the Treasurer refusing to answer questions put to him on whether he was the subject of the half-a-million bucks in compensation paid to survivor and former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller.
This time, it’s damning allegations of bullying, harassment and outright grubby behaviour towards his own constituent, Michael Staindl.
The Hawthorn local and former small business owner famously took Frydenberg to the High Court after the 2019 Federal Election, using the precedent of the 2016-17 Eligibility crisis, which saw high profile figures such as Barnaby Joyce booted from Parliament for holding dual citizenship.
After an election result has been declared, constituents have up to 30 days to challenge the eligibility of their elected Member. On the basis of Section 44 of the constitution, Michael made an application to force the then Environment and Energy Minister to resign his position due to his Hungarian citizenship by descent.
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He lost the case after their key witness, a Hungarian constitutional law expert, disappeared without a trace, just before departing Budapest for Australia.
What sets this case apart from other challenges is that a costs order of almost a million dollars was placed upon the retiree in August 2021 after the Federal Court ruled there was “no evidence to support” his claim under Section 44.
This was the beginning of a vengeful, spiteful and downright grubby campaign by the Federal Treasurer to destroy the lives of two of his constituents for daring to hold him to account.
Business Owner Turned Climate Activist
Michael Staindl is no ordinary retiree. He and wife Kay ran a successful small business in Hawthorn for over 20 years, employing 15 staff and making an enormous contribution to the local economy.
Then, moved by the need to address the climate emergency, he became a full time activist.
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A bold move to make close to retirement, when most Australians of that vintage are more worried about franking credits and which bottle of red to smash at dinner.
He sold his business, became a volunteer and has spent his days doing everything possible to force the head-in-the-sand Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government to do something, anything, to address the greatest threat to human survival.
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His local member became a point of contact for his advocacy, as is every other parliamentarian in the country.
Unimpressed with the then Minister for Environment and Energy, Michael went on the offence when he identified an opportunity to force a change in government policy by removing one of the biggest blockages to any meaningful energy reform – referring Frydenberg to the High Court.
He is now in a fight for his future with his family home on the line as the Treasurer’s lawyers, Arnold Bloch Leibler, try to throw Michael and Kay onto the streets.
All due to a personal grudge from the failed tennis-hopeful turned politician and his good mate, fellow alleged creep, Christian Porter.
“Merry Christmas”: We’re Taking Your House
It’s no secret Frydenberg and former Attorney-General/”alleged rapist” Christian Porter are good mates.
Both hovering around 50, Porter was elected to the seat of Pearce three years after Frydenberg was ‘appointed’ to Kooyong.
Their close connection was put on public record after damning allegations against Porter were revealed, with Frydenberg backing his boy in.
This may have been a thank you for the favour Porter did for the now-Treasurer in ensuring that Commonwealth solicitors were instructed to make an example of Michael’s challenge.
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Such is this Liberal Government’s allergy to any form of scrutiny, Porter decided to put an end to those pesky attempts by the public to hold their representatives accountable.
How? By whacking a cost order of nearly a million dollars on Michael – and Frydenberg serving a bankruptcy notice on Christmas Eve, two days after Michael buried his father.
He believes this was deliberate timing given the online stalking he had endured by Frydenberg’s legal team.
It makes Ebernezer Scrooge look like Santa Claus.
Like so many other Australians, Michael and Kay’s house in Hawthorn is their retirement plan.
Their home is full of memories and achievements. Yet, rather than enjoying their golden years, they are actively campaigning to inform the voters of Kooyong of the true character of their Federal Liberal Member – who in their view, has betrayed the nation due to his total inaction on climate change.
Josh Frydenberg’s end goal: Michael and Kay Staindl’s home in Hawthorn. (Image: Pierce Field)
It is here we witness Frydenberg in his true form – an arrogant, self-entitled and immature Bubble-brat that is still sore at his failed tennis career.
The Hawthorn early voting centre became a theatre for threats, intimidation and bullying from Liberal supporters, and the Treasurer himself.
It is here where the 50-year-old Young Liberal snuck up behind Michael and his supporters, and literally abused and hissed at them.
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That’s right, the man who wants to be Prime Minister, carries on like a petulant man-child in front of his constituents.
It got to the point where legal advice in relation to a personal protection order was sought, however it had not reached the threshold of physical assault required by Victoria Police.
‘We are scared to return’, Michael said with an air of hopelessness.
Uncle Josh and Anti-Semitism
Uncle Leo from the sitcom Seinfeld. (Image: Entertainment Weekly and NBC)
Fans of the 1990s sitcom about nothing, Seinfeld, fondly recall the character of Jerry’s uncle, Leo.
Uncle Leo is a rather loud and boisterous character even by Seinfeld standards. In the 1996 episode The Shower Head, Jerry makes an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where they discuss Uncle Leo and how he blames misfortunes on anti-Semitism – anything from an overcooked burger to his girlfriend finding humour in his antics.
All a joke, yet over 25 years later, the Federal Treasurer is using late 90s satire as a means to weaponise his faith as a shield for his dodgy conduct. And it seems the weaponisation of claims of anti-Semitism may be a concerted powerplay by the wider Liberal Party, as a recent True Crime News Weekly investigation suggests.
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Michael has been so tarred by the anti-Semitic brush, it has ensured mainstream media to not touch the core truths of his ordeal.
Being of Hungarian descent, Michael fully understands the offensive nature of being branded an anti-Semite, given the nation’s horrendous history with the persecution of Jews.
When asked about the campaign to defame him, a look of disgust and disappointment flashed across Staindl’s face.
Staindl then continued: “I didn’t even actually realise that Frydenberg was of the Jewish faith – I don’t give a damn what religion people are.
“I care about leaving behind a habitable planet for our children.”
Which is why it makes it very interesting that as a part of Frydenberg’s defence, the Treasurer sought a letter of support from right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orban.
Orban’s persecution of minorities and racist border policies have caught the European Union’s attention, with several nations advocating for Hungary’s removal from the EU.
As reported in 2020, Frydenberg wrote to Orban to seek acknowledgement that he was not a Hungarian citizen. The same Victor Orban that has been universally condemned for his anti-Semitic tropes, with many making comparisons with the language used in the 1930s.
‘The Hungarian leader will insist that he’s the best friend of Hungarian Jews. He’s anything but.’
Politico‘s coverage of Orban’s visit to the USA in 2019.
It appears the Member for Kooyong is happy to use support from anti-Semitic leaders to keep his own job.
It fits in very well with Frydenberg’s overall 2022 campaign theme – ditch the government, but for the love of God, let me stay.
Not just a house, but a home. (Image: Pierce Field)
“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is bullying us into bankruptcy”: Kay and Michael Staindl in their Hawthorn home (Image: Pierce Field)
Crushed by the Commonwealth
The whole ordeal has drained Michael and Kay to the point where health problems have arisen, along with social isolation and copping outright abuse from so-called Liberal supporters.
That’s on top of losing their home. Their castle, as Darryl Kerrigan would put it.
They feel persecuted by their own government, despite the Liberals’ claim they believe in free-speech and the rights of the individual.
When asked how he felt about being targeted by his own government, Michael said:
“I don’t really have words for it. It’s been a long two and a half years, it’s been extreme stress. It’s taken a huge toll on my wife’s health, too. And she already had some health problems. This has just aggravated them.”
Despite numerous apologies to the Treasurer and an offer of $167,000 by Michael and his family and friends, the bankruptcy threat still stands.
Unless the cost order is paid by the Commonwealth as a matter of Public Interest, as in all the other cases, or in some other way is admonished, Michael and Kay will likely lose their home.
All due to the vindictive, immature, elitist Member for Kooyong. Yet more evidence in spite of his self proclamations that he is a “moderate”, Frydenberg is seemingly just another grub from Scott Morrison’s Coalition Creep Club.
True Crime News Weekly has forwarded on questions to Frydenberg, Porter, other Coalition MPs and Arnold Bloch Leibler.
‘He lost the case after their key witness, a Hungarian constitutional law expert, disappeared without a trace, just before departing Budapest for Australia.’
That is so very strange – creepy, in fact. It would be interesting to know more about it.
There is an additional point about this case, and the costs order, which shows that Staindl’s ordeal is unnecessary. All this is spite.
‘High-profile law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler represented Mr Frydenberg pro bono – it is included on the MP’s register of interest.’
This pro bono representation is now being charged – as a costs order against Staindl.
On twitter, Ronni Salt has made some comments about how ‘Frydenberg has received numerous pro bono legal services from his powerful friends at Arnold Bloch Liebler …’ and how they are now in line to bankrupt a pensioner. It is very awful behaviour.